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First ride on Mumbai’s AC local: Commuters all praise, want more such trains

To attract passengers on the country’s first AC local train that started its journey in Mumbai on Monday, railway authorities have offered fare discounts for the first six months.

mumbai Updated: Dec 25, 2017 21:48 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,AC train,Borivli
Commuters board the air-conditioned local train at Borivli station in Mumbai on Monday. (Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)

An air-conditioned local train embarked on its maiden journey between Borivli and Churchgate at 10.30am on Monday. The train ran on the fast corridor and reached Churchgate at 11.15am. It halted for five minutes before returning to Borivli.

To attract passengers on the country’s first AC local train, railway authorities have offered fare discounts for the first six months. Passengers can opt for any of the three passes — monthly, fortnightly and weekly.

The discounted price is 1.2 times the first-class ticket fare, which will go up to 1.3 times after six months. During the discounted period, a monthly pass costs Rs 570 between Churchgate to Mumbai Central (minimum distance). The monthly pass for the entire stretch between Chruchgate and Virar costs Rs 2,040 in that period.

Himanshu Bakshi, a Borivli resident, said: “The AC train will be a boon for passengers. I want to thank the railways for starting this service on the Western line. If you compare the ticket price with that charged by the fleet cabs, it is not expensive.”

Travel Ticket Examiners (TTE) click a selfie inside the AC local train. ( Pramod Thakur/HT )

A woman, who boarded the train without realising that it was the AC local as no announcement was made before the train’s arrival, said she did not mind paying a higher fare because her commute will be less hectic, especially in summers.

The train will halt at Andheri, Bandra, Dadar, and Mumbai Central stations. Between December 25 and December 29, the Western Railway (WR) will run only six services between Churchgate and Borivli stations.

One of the concerns of railway officials is the automatic closing of doors. To make passengers accustomed to the facility, officials from Mahalaxmi car shed will be present in each compartment.

Officials have also raised concerns on other technical errors. “The entire system will be disrupted if a technical failure occurs. Several trials have been carried out to prepare us for glitches. However, the motorman and guard have to be extra careful. To help them, technicians will also be deployed on the train,’’ said a senior WR official.

The first and last coaches are reserved for women. Seven seats in the second and penultimate coaches are reserved for senior citizens; and 10 seats in the fourth and seventh coaches for differently-abled passengers.

A few commuters said it was necessary to deploy railway police in the women’s compartment. “The coaches are vestibule. Hence, RPF presence in the ladies compartment during evening hours is a must,” said a woman commuter.

Commuters alight at Churchgate after the AC local train completed its maiden journey from Borivli. ( Pramod Thakur/HT )

Borivli resident Dhirendra Tripathi, who boarded the AC train for a joyride, said, “I had read about the AC train in newspapers. I reached Borivli station to buy the ticket and was told by the booking clerk that sale of tickets was yet to begin. We need more AC trains at the earliest.”

From January 1, 12 services will ply on weekdays: — eight fast services between Churchgate and Virar with halts at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivli, Bhayander and Vasai Road; three fast services between Churchgate and Borivili with stops at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra and Andheri; and one slow service between Mahalaxmi and Borivli.

The train will not operate on Saturday and Sunday owing to maintenance work.

First Published: Dec 25, 2017 14:09 IST