Around one lakh more commuters are using the railway over the past few months.
Mumbai: Western Railway (WR) has seen an increase in the number of passengers per month. Officials suspect that people have temporarily shifted to the railways from road due to the traffic snarls caused by the Metro work. Around one lakh more commuters are using the railway over the past few months.
The numbers began rising since last September and the past four months has seen a spurt in growth. WR sees 35 lakh commuters travel on its railways per day and the spurt means that at least 4,000 permanent travellers have been added to the commuting crowd per day. Each coach of a 12-coach train accommodates 4, 000 commuters during peak hours.
As a result of the growth, WR has seen an increase in ticket purchasing from other modes like the Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Seva (JTBS), where commuters have to pay an extra rupee, the Unserved Ticketing System (UTS) and mobile ticket ticketing, that was otherwise not receiving the kind of response when it was launched more than a year ago.
Officials said that they could not understand these numbers at first, but then asked stationmasters about what has changed around their stations and found the answer. According to an official, “When there is an increase in the number of tickets, there is a set pattern in the increase, but this seemed to be an oddity. When we asked our ticketing staff and the station masters, they said that a lot of work with regards to the Metro is being undertaken in the western suburbs, hence we feel that people prefer to take the train instead of getting stuck in their cars or an Uber/Ola, or even carpooling cars.”
The month of July, for example, has seen an increase in ticket sales by almost 85,000 on its suburban section, with stations like Santa Cruz, Andheri and Dahisar recording sharp rises, said officials.
WR senior divisional commercial manager, Aarti Singh Parihar said, “We have brought in more facilitators and have to talked with the JTBS contractors and ticketing staff about the sudden spurt in sales and will make sure that the waiting time at the counters is not increased for commuters.”