#Coronavirus: Will Mumbai Local Timings Reduce? Railways Say Timing Won’t Extend
The headcount of active coronavirus cases have risen meteorically in Maharashtra, especially in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
State officials and many health experts believe the major reason for the spike in active Covid cases reported per day is the resumption of local train services in MMR for the general public.
The state government resumed local train services for the general public in non-peak hours’ time slots, starting February 1. Active cases of coronavirus across the city have been increasing turbulently ever since.
Amidst the increasing cases in the city, there were reports of the state government mulling over either reinstating earlier restrictions on local train services reducing the current time slots, for the general public.
However, a senior Railway official has assured there being no plans of imposing any changes in either the train timings or slots for general public, on account of rising Covid cases in the city.
No Change in Local Train Schedules
We have been providing you with regular updates on activities revolving around Mumbai locals.
Last month, we had informed you that the state government was considering either revoking local train services, or reducing the allotted time slots for the general public.
However, in a statement given by a railway official to a wire agency, the railways currently have no plans of changing timings/slots for the general public.
The official informed that the Railways have not yet received any instructions to make any changes in the local train operations, by the civic body (BMC).
“We have not received any communication from the state or the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) regarding reducing local train timings or suspending train services.
Reducing train timings will lead to overcrowding inside train compartments and on platforms. We will continue to operate the present number of local trains for essential workers, even if trains are later suspended for the general public.”, said the senior official.
Earlier, the relief and rehabilitation minister, Vijay Wadettiwar had said that the state government is tilting towards the idea of rescheduling the train timings, due to an upsurge in cases.
While the final decision is yet to be taken, the state as of now, will not undergo any changes in local train operations.
33 Lakh Commuters/Day in Mumbai Locals
On February 1, the state government resumed local train services for general public, in three time slots:
- From the day’s first service till 7am,
- 12pm to 4pm, and
- From 9 pm to the last train of the day.
As a result, about 33 lakh commuters now travel in local trains per day on three lines, with 20 lakh commuters on Central Railway per day and 13 lakh using Western Railways.
Prior to this, when local trains were open for essential and emergency service workers, in extension to women commuters in stipulated time slots, the total passengers to have used local trains until February 1 was 80 lakh.
Now, about 33 lakh commuters use local trains in just one day.
An official from the healthcare sector says, “The crowding in the trains is one of the reasons for the rise in the cases. Passengers travelling from Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Vasai-Virar, Navi Mumbai may lead to the spread across the MMR.”
Of the 1,774 train services operated by the Central Railway and 1,367 by the Western Railway before the coronavirus outbreak, currently, 1685 local train services are being operated by the Central Railway, while 1300 are being operated by the Western Railway.