More Mumbaikars shun vehicles, take to trains

With fuel prices steadily shooting up, especially in the past two years, more and more Mumbaikars seem to leave their cars behind home and opt for trains for their daily commute.

“In 2010-11 and 2011-12 , the number of Western Railway commuters has increased by 3% annually , while earlier, the yearly rise used to be by 2.3%. The steep hike in fuel prices, especially over the past two years, is playing a crucial role in the trend, with increasingly more people shunning their cars and taking trains,” a senior Western Railway official told TOI. He also attributes the never-ending snarls on roads as another reason, saying people would rather reach their destinations fast by train than swelter on roads, stuck in traffic jams.

The scene is similar even on Central Railway, which has recorded a 2.7% rise in the number of daily passengers in 2011-12 , a figure higher than that over the past fourfive years. “Earlier, the number of passengers on CR would go up by up to 2% every year,” a Central R ailway official said. The official attributes this rise to the new services and rakes recently launched by the railway, but at the same time, agrees that the fuel price increase does a play a vital role in more people opting for trains as a mode of transport.

Incidentally, ever since the petrol prices started to spiral up, the first round of Rs 48.76 per litre in 2009 and now Rs 78.58 per litre, the number of vehicles on roads has also been going up by 12%; earlier the figure used to be an average of 7-8 %, the data with regional transport suggests. The increase of vehicles on road translates into snarls on roads, which in turn, has been forcing people to shun roads and take trains, a traffic analyst says. “I think, 10-15 % of train commuters use the mode of transport owing to these two reasons,” said analyst Sudhir Patil. “Fast AC bus and train services will change the scene even further. Now the administration should start dedicated bus lanes.”

Suggesting that the government should take more steps to further alleviate commuters’ travail, transport expert Jagdeep Desai said, “People need point-to-point fast AC bus services. To help them reach their destinations according to their convenience and within time, the administration must increase the frequency in services and chalk out routes that pass through better commuter-density areas. Unfortunately , the sector is unorganized and haphazard.

Published in: on May 26, 2012 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment