Microcosm called train group

Thrown together into a frantic suburban train commute of 50 kms or even more every day, the city’s working women have forged bonds, which some say are as close as family ties. These friendships that flower on local trains are known to last decades and seep into the world outside the wheels and the tracks. They keep firmly in touch years later.

“Like different members of a family, each woman within a group formed on the train is distinct from the other. One could be aggressive while another could be docile. But what’s most important within a train group is trust. We can share our innermost secrets without any apprehension of them being leaked to others,” says Geeta Phatarphekar, a medical college professor.

Commuters on the ‘ladies’ special’ trains call them their second home. Singing songs, sharing goodies and bringing in birthdays is common. But there are a few commuter groups who take celebrations a step further. “Nearly everyone dresses up in different colours during the nine days of Navratri. We decided to start playing the garba as well. It’s done in the last phase of the commute when the compartment is nearly empty and cheers everyone up,” says Seema Naik, another WR commuter.

Some tech-savvy commuters have created a Facebook page for everyone in their group to stay in touch, when they aren’t together. “We have formed a chat group on WhatsApp to post railway updates such as delays or cancellation of services. This way, our friends can plan their schedule in advance and not get inconvenienced,” says advertising executive Sneha Singh, who commutes from Panvel to Andheri. “My journey takes over an hour-and-half daily, so having someone to share our joys and sorrows with acts as a real stress-buster,” Singh adds.

For a budding entrepreneur, a train compartment is the best ground to test and hone her skills. Before she launched her readymade snacks business, catering graduate Shloka Kamath would ask her friends in the train to taste her products. “It helped immensely as each of them was honest with their feedback and genuinely wanted to help out. I tweaked my recipes, based on their suggestions, before starting out professionally,” she says.

HR executive Pranali Salvi and her group of friends on Central Railway organize short picnics every few months. The only condition is that no family members are allowed to tag along. “It’s a great break from our routine. Recently, we had been to Lonavla where someone in our group owns a property,” she said.

Then there are groups formed within groups. “Only those very close to you can point out that you have put on weight or are overdressed; not everyone in a group can get away with saying whatever they feel like. We have our share of nasty fights as well. There will always be somebody who doesn’t want to occupy the fourth seat. But there are also others in the group who will calm you down when you’ve lost your temper,” says Phatarphekar.

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin=TOINEW&BaseHref=TOIM/2013/03/09&PageLabel=4&EntityId=Ar00402&ViewMode=HTML

AC comfort for Mumbai rail commuters

Mumbaikars are all set to become the first suburban commuters in the country to travel in air-conditioned coaches this year. About 70 lakh commuters use the Mumbai suburban rail services daily .

The Western and Central railway operate 2,846 services on the Mumbai suburban network on the Western line, Central Railway’s main line, harbour line and trans-harbour line as of now. The rakes are expected to be run on Mumbai’s Western Railway (WR) as it has fully converted to 25,000 volt alternating current.

The Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal announced 72 new services across the Mumbai suburban network spanning and Central Railway (CR) and WR.

Of the 72 services, 22 would be on CR. Of these, six services would operate between Kalyan and Kasara of the north-east line towards Nasik and six from Kalyan to Karjat of the south-east line towards Pune. Plugging gaps in its harbour line timetable, 10 new services would be introduced in the Panvel – Andheri corridor.

The remaining 50 new services would run on WR. Last year, Mumbai suburban had been given 75 new services — 35 on WR and 40 on CR. Special emphasis was given to the trans-harbour network covering Thane–Vashi, and Thane–Nerul /Belapur / Panvel sections.

raghavendrarao.k@thehindu.co.in

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/ac-comfort-for-mumbai-rail-commuters/article4455963.ece

Pay in multiples of `5 for your train ticket

For nearly 75 lakh Mumbaiites dependent on suburban trains, the recent fare hike announced by railway minister PK Bansal will end up pinching their pockets more than they expected. Instead of the present practice of rounding off the ticket rates to nearest rupee, the railways have decided to round it off to multiples of Rs5.

This means, if the revised fare is Rs12, it will be rounded off to Rs15. Similarly, if the revised fare is Rs26, it will now be Rs30.

First-class commuters will have to pay Rs1 to Rs4 more and suburban commuters will pay Rs2 to Rs3 more in addition to the revised fare. In case of second-class commuters, the fare will be rounded off to immediate lower multiple of Rs5 if the last digit is 1 or 6. (see graphic).

The new fares will be effective from January 22.

However, there may be some relief for passengers if the development charge that is levied on tickets is removed completely. In that case, the hike may not be too steep.

But lack of clarity on the issue has left the city’s railway officials in a dilemma.

A circular issued by the railway board said that rounding off the fares to multiples of Rs5 would be done after levy of taxes and surcharge. It also said not to add the development charge that gets levied on every train ticket across the country.

What is unclear is whether the development charge should be merged with present fare or completely removed.

According to railway officials, if the development charges are abolished, the

first-class ticket prices may go down even after the fares are increased.

Currently, development charge of Re1 is levied on a single journey second-class ticket and Rs20 on a first-class ticket.

The development charges is Rs30 for a second-class quarterly season pass and Rs60 for a first-class pass.

Passenger associations are not too pleased with the development. “The railway is trying to loot the middle-class suburban commuters,” said Subhash Gupta, member, National Railway Users Consultative Committee.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Pay-in-multiples-of-5-for-your-train-ticket/Article1-988546.aspx

Published in: on January 19, 2013 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Misuse of return tickets by suburban commuters costs railways dear

The rampant misuse of return tickets by suburban commuters has rattled the railway authorities. On the Mumbai suburban section of both Central and Western railway the return journey tickets are valid for the next day or two days if the next day is a holiday or a Sunday. Although as per the rules, the return journey is to be made only once, commuters often use it twice. For instance if a commuter takes a return journey ticket, he/she uses the same on day one and the next day as well. For the second day, commuters only buy a single journey ticket and uses the previous day’s return journey ticket on the way back. This practice is causing major losses to the railways.

Ticket checkers on duty say they always see many people returning the same day. Again the next day, when they checked , they found the same return journey ticket, checked one day before.

A ticket checker on duty in at a station said, “Many times, I checked commuters and see return ticket and the next day, I saw the person at the same station from where he started travelling, purchasing a single journey ticket.”

In suburban section of Mumbai, daily 4,86,087 commuters buy 2, 39,860 return tickets on Western Railway and while on Central Railway 4,61, 235 commuters purchase 2,33,318 return tickets daily.

In Mumbai suburban section of Western railway, 36.21 lakh commuters travel daily. Out of these 24.76 lakh are season tickets holders. While 10.47 card tickets are sold daily. Per day, total earning is 1.67 crore.

While in suburban section of central railway, 38,02,106 commuters purchase 8, 36,118 tickets. Out of this, 11,49,170 commuters buy 7,91,703 card tickets. As many as 26,52,936 season pass holders purchase 44,415 tickets. Total earning is Rs 1,76,15,742/ per day.

In suburban section of Mumbai, daily 4,86,087 commuters buy 2, 39,860 return tickets on Western Railway and while on Central Railway 4,61, 235 commuters purchase 2,33,318 return tickets daily.

In Mumbai suburban section of Western railway, 36.21 lakh commuters travel daily. Out of these 24.76 lakh are season tickets holders. While 10.47 card tickets are sold daily. Per day, total earning is 1.67 crore.

While in suburban section of central railway, 38,02,106 commuters purchase 8, 36,118 tickets. Out of this, 11,49,170 commuters buy 7,91,703 card tickets. As many as 26,52,936 season pass holders purchase 44,415 tickets. Total earning is Rs 1,76,15,742 per day.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/misuse-of-return-tickets-by-suburban-commuters-costs-railways-dear/1049801/0

Renew rly season tickets at vending machines

By the end of this month, the suburban commuters would be able to renew their monthly/tri-monthly season tickets at the Automated Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) and escape long queues at the ticket counter. Rail officials said the process of issuing season tickets through ATVMs is almost over but refused to reveal the exact date of the commencement of the service.

“We are done with the testing and services should begin by the month-end,” said C P Sharma, divisional railway manager (Mumbai division), Western railway. The Central Railway is likely to start the service at the same time but officials refused to comment on the date.

ATVMs were introduced in the suburban section in October 2007 and are monitored by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS). After being ignored by the people for a long time, the service has now started gaining popularity, with some 8000 ATVM cards being issued on a daily basis. The service aims at helping people avoid serpentine queues. “Using the ATVMs, one can renew the season ticket but the machine can not issue fresh season tickets. For the commuters’ ease, the ATVMs would have a keyboard in the screen through which commuters can make changes in the ticket,” said a rail official. These changes could be made in class, destination and date. In an option given on the screen, the commuter has to enter the UTS number, a unique one through which the railways maintain a database of any commuter.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Soon–renew-rly-season-tickets-at-vending-machines/461550/