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One month of AC train in Mumbai: Cool ride gets lukewarm response

The suburban train, which began its operation between Borivli and Churchgate on December 25, has managed to get only 16,822 daily passengers.

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2018 00:29 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,mumbai news,Mumbai AC train
Officials say it will take three months to figure out how commuters are responding to the AC trains(HT File)

The city’s first air-conditioned (AC) local train has completed a month of operation on the Western Railway, but the response from commuters has been lukewarm.

The suburban train, which began its operation between Borivli and Churchgate on December 25, has managed to get nearly 1,00,000 season ticket passengers. However, daily journey passengers for both December and January has been only 16,822, as compared to the capacity of 5,964 passengers per ride.

One of the reasons for the fewer number of daily passengers is the low frequency of the train- it makes only 12 daily trips between Churchgate and Virar. Railways officials believe that after the second AC train arrives, the daily number of passengers would increase. The second AC train is expected to arrive in 9 months.

Officials say it will take some more time to figure out how commuters are responding to AC trains.“It is too early to determine the passengers’ commuting behaviour. We will be able to figure it out after around three months,”said Mukul Jain, divisional railway manager, WR.

The season ticket includes weekly, fortnightly and monthly passes for the AC train. “The AC train doesn’t have many regular commuters. However, several commuters are buying weekly AC passes.” said a WR official.

The total earnings of the AC local train has been Rs57,24,47 so far. A total of 2,047 season tickets were sold in December and January. 282 commuters were penalised for travelling without a ticket, and Rs76,720 was incurred from them as fine.

The Railway Board in the month of January allowed first class passengers to upgrade to the AC local train ticket. 107 commuters upgraded from first class, wherein 45 upgraded via the mobile app, and 62 by paying difference. Rs39,755 was earned from the upgradation.

The AC train faced its first technical glitch on Friday last week. The train, during operation, did not indicate the automatic closing and opening of doors in the motorman’s cabin. WR quickly withdrew the remaining services for the day, and rectified the software error.

“The services were withdrawn as complete evaluation was necessary. Without the indication flashing, the motorman would not know if the doors are closed or open,” said a WR official.

The railways are also planning to operate the AC train on Saturdays. Presently, the train runs only on weekdays and is sent for maintenance over the weekend.

Meanwhile, passengers’ associations said the fare of the AC train should be revised. “The railways should make the fare affordable for all commuters, not just first class passengers. The idea of implementing six normal coaches and six AC coaches could also be considered for the AC train.” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.

First Published: Jan 31, 2018 00:29 IST