Only 22 passengers for Mumbai’s CSMT-Kalyan AC local on first day of operations
The air-conditioned (AC) local train service between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kalyan railway station on the Central Railway (CR) garnered extremely low passenger response on its first day of operations on Thursday.
The train has a sitting capacity of 1,028 passengers and has a total capacity of 5,964 passengers, however, by 8pm on Thursday, only 22 passengers had travelled by the AC local.
Of the 22, two passengers were monthly AC local train season railway pass holders.
CR introduced 10 AC local train services between CSMT and Kalyan railway station on the slow railway line corridor. The train services will be operated from Monday to Saturday.
Passengers who travelled on the first day of operations stated that increasing frequency of AC local trains, operating a higher number of AC locals during peak hours and allowing them to ply on the fast railway lines would be helpful.
“This is the first time I am travelling by the AC local train and I’m excited. I will definitely upgrade my first-class railway pass to an AC train pass. However, the train frequency should be increased. Once that is done, more passengers will prefer AC local train services,” said Manisha Deshpande, who commuted from CSMT to Kalyan.
Sudip Kumar, who travels daily between CSMT and Kanjurmarg railway station, stated that trains should be introduced during peak hours and their frequency needs to be increased. “It is a comfortable journey and it will definitely benefit the mainline commuters. The train has only 10 services a day which can be a problem. More services should be introduced during peak hours,” he said.
Few passengers also stated that operations of trains on the fast railway line will help in saving time. “I have been travelling for 20 years on CR and I’m very happy that finally, the AC train has arrived. We were waiting for the train to begin operations on the mainline. Railways should consider operating the AC train on the fast line as well,” said Laxman Gauge, who used the AC train to travel from CSMT to Kalyan.
Presently, local train services are operational only for people working in essential services, specially-abled and cancer patients. Women commuters and lawyers are also allowed to commute during a stipulated period.
The fare of the AC local train is 1.3 times higher than that of normal local trains. A one-way ticket to travel from CSMT to Dadar costs ₹65; CSMT to Kurla costs ₹125; CSMT to Thane costs ₹180 and the fare to Kalyan costs ₹210.
CR operated its first AC local train on the trans-harbour route between Thane-Vashi and Panvel railway stations on January 30, 2020.