Authorities have added 12 services to Virar and plan to introduce more soon
Over the years, thousands of people have moved to the northern suburbs in search of cheaper houses. But while the real estate prices might not squeeze your budget, the train travel can certainly squeeze the life out of you.
Fortunately, during a meeting on January 11, Western Railway authorities decided to increase the train services towards Vasai-Virar to accommodate the growing population there. “The uncontrolled real estate prices in Mumbai have forced people to move further north beyond Mumbai limits. As road connectivity is poor beyond Dahisar, the only option left with people is to take the local train,” said a WR official.
Statistics compiled by the Western Railway show a continuous spike in the number of people commuting from northern suburbs beyond Dahisar, and even more so beyond Bhayandar creek. “There is a need to increase the number of trains starting and terminating at Vasai and Bhayandar, which have become important stations over the years. The administration has promised to run 15-car trains there so that more people can be accommodated,” said Kailash Verma, member of the Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee constituted by the Indian Railways.
Nalasopara and Virar, in particular, have cheaper real estate prices and, therefore, have seen the maximum commuter growth over the years. At Nalasopara, the number of daily commuters has gone up from 1.67 lakh in 2011-12 to 2.28 lakh as of November 2016. At Virar too, the number of commuters has gone up to 1.97 lakh.
At present, WR operates 1,323 services every day on the Churchgate-Dahanu route, out of which, 545 services are for Virar. The officials said there are more services that terminate at Bhayandar and Vasai Road as well.
Only recently, the WR authorities added 12 more daily services of 15-car trains on the Churchgate-Virar route. But during the morning and evening peak hours, they can only run 6 services per train.
“The number of train services to and from Virar are constantly on the rise, but the growth in number of commuters is tremendously growing. We are now thinking of increasing the number of 15-car rakes on that section,” said another WR official.
Drop down south
Unlike the northern suburbs, every station between Churchgate and Borivli has seen a drop or only a marginal rise in the number of commuters. Even major stations like Dadar, Bandra, Andheri and Borivli have seen a drop in the number of daily commuters. Officials have credited the rise in personal vehicles for this decrease.