The commuting horror on the central line has thrown up a scary fact. So predominant is the railway’s share in daily commuting in Mumbai and its adjoining areas that on a day when the railways goof up, the city grinds to a halt.
While we can always take a BEST bus or summon a taxi or auto, we cannot ignore the fact that the city’s railways carry over 90% of long-distance travellers, who want to travel beyond 10kms. While BEST buses carry around 46 lakh commuters, the locals take around 70 lakh people to and fro every day.
BEST general manager OP Gupta agreed that it is almost impossible for the city’s buses to take on the crowd that travels by train.
The Central Railways’ poor communication skills only worsened the situation between Sunday and Monday. Having decided to go ahead with the remodelling at Thane station on Friday, the authorities informed citizens about the disruption in train services only a day in advance.
While the CR did place advertisements in the city’s newspapers, officials expressed their apprehensions about this in a meeting chaired by CR general manager Subodh Jain. “In the time of social media, FM radio and television channels, expecting people to read a text-heavy advertisement in a newspaper is foolish. The result was that a large number of people turned up to catch trains on Sunday, as always, and before we knew it, we had a problem on our hands,” said a CR official.
Moreover, officials said that referring to the disruption as a mega block was a mistake, as the magnitude of the project was several times larger than the usual mega blocks people have got used to on Sundays.