A demand for more train services tops the list of complaints from Western Railway commuters, followed by reports of malfunctioning equipment in suburban train coaches.
Data compiled from the list of complaints sent through SMS by commuters between April-July 2013 reveals that nearly 31% of commuters sought augmentation in services. Equipment malfunction (fan, lights, etc) followed with 22% complaints. Stoppages for long-distance trains at particular stations was another major demand, 8% were unhappy with passenger amenities, 7%
were upset with ticket-checking, 5% with security, 4% cleanliness and 3% had ticketing complaints. While 7% had miscellaneous complaints, 11% complaints were unclear, 2% users appreciated the services.
WR’s chief public relations officer Sharat Chandrayan said, “The number of complaints have reduced to 668 in April-July 2013 from 917 in the same period in the corresponding period last year.”
Nevertheless, he said, complaints registered using this service are taken extremely seriously as these are monitored at the level of the principal heads of departments. Nearly 31% or a total of 211 commuters have made complaints about train services. Chandrayan said, “These include stoppages demanded for long-distance trains too. Many also want locals originating or terminating from their destinations.”
The second most important grouse was malfunctioning of equipment, as nearly 22% of respondents complained about the poor quality of fans and non-functioning lights. A senior railway official said, “The situation has improved progressively as the number of complaints on this front also reduced from 185 last year to 152 this year during the same period. It will further improve with the induction of new rakes in the system.”
The least complaints were about ticketing. WR caters to nearly 35 lakh commuters per day. A senior WR official said, “We have 332 windows, 450 CVMs and 195 ATVMS spread across 35 stations. The average time at a booking window at the busiest stations like Dadar or Bhayander is 16 minutes during peak hour and 5 minutes during non-peak hour.”
However, commuters were unhappy with ticket-checking, with as many as 7% expressing displeasure on this front. Borivli resident Sonal Mehta said, “The first-class compartment is occupied by unauthorized ticket holders. It is extremely unjust as we pay a premium.”
Times View: Some of the common commuter peeves have been there for some time. Augmentation of services is one such demand. It may not be possible to increase services to every commuter’s complete satisfaction but some projects have been delayed because of lack of planning (TOI report on September 3). Fans and lights also may malfunction occasionally and users must share a part of the blame for dirty coaches and toilets. But long-standing grievances do indicate that action following feedback has not satisfied the user.