Mumbaikars want railways to provide better amenities to passengers instead of increasing fares.
The western railways proposal to hike suburban fares has evoked mixed reactions from Mumbaikars. While some commuters don’t mind paying extra money for a smoother commute some others want railways to provide better amenities to passengers. Already the Mumbai suburban system is facing huge pressure due to overcrowding of passengers especially during the peak hours. Commuters have to jostle for space in overpacked railway compartments. The Western Railway had incurred a loss of Rs 1,400 crore during the last financial year as they want to recover some of the operational costs incurred through fare hike. WR spends Rs 1 lakh on each escalator and Rs 3 crore on the medical rooms annually. The 23 escalators at various railway stations were installed at a cost of Rs 10 lakh each.
Saurabh Gupta a photographer from Borivali said, “I have to travel from Borivali to Churchgate daily for work. I also have to commute through central line for covering assignments. If railways hike fares then it will impose a huge burden on me.”
Shreyas Seth a BPO employee from Kandivali said, “The last time railways had revised fares twice within a period of three to four months. Fares were increased prior to the railway budget initially and again ticket rates were hiked during the railway budget. Why should fares be revised twice in a year?.”
Atul Kulkarni a Dahisar resident said, “The western railways proposal to revise fare for recovering the cost of operating the escalators is unjustified. If they are unable to provide this services then what was the point of introducing it? Was the decision to install escalator a political gimmick to please voters? Didn’t they think about the maintenance and other expenditure to be incurred by them while taking this decision?.”
Omkar Tavsalkar a Malad resident said, “Instead of increasing fares the railways should think about raising revenues through other sources like leasing their properties and advertising. Why should the commuters have to bear the brunt of fare hike? Everybody knows how an average Mumbaikar has to undergo severe difficulties while commuting in suburban trains.”
Sachin Waghchoure a Kurla resident said, “I don’t mind paying more for railway commute. I am pleased with the railway’s decision to provide wi-fi services for commuters as I can use data services while commuting towards my office.”
On the other hand, railways have justified their proposal to hike fares. A Western Railway official said, “It is necessary to revise fares for recovering the losses which have been increasing every year. The fares of Mumbai’s suburban trains are the cheapest in the world, though it is the city’s lifeline.”
The fare hike plan will be implemented after getting a nod from the railway board.