There are now at least 30 lakh fully vaccinated people travelling daily in local trains on both Central and Western Railways; which is almost 38 percent of those who travelled during pre-Covid times. From August 11, when the railways and state government first started issuing monthly season tickets (MSTs), until August 31, the Western Railway are ferrying an average of 11 lakh people while 19 lakh people are using the Central Railway. And during this period 4,95,466 MSTs were issued by both rail authorities.
The WR authorities, from August 11-31 issued 1,36,765 MSTs and CR sold 3,58,701 MSTs during this period. The daily average on CR comes to more than 17,000 MSTs while that on WR it is just over 6,500 MSTs. These MSTs have been issued after people either filled in details of their double vaccination online or at the desks setup at railway stations by civic authorities.
According to rail officials, prior to August 15, around 24-25 lakh people were travelling in local trains on a daily average. The stations of Dombivali and Borivali continue to sell highest number of MSTs on a daily basis. Initially the BMC and other civic bodies had setup desks at the railway stations from 7am to 11pm for issuing Universal Travel Pass. There were 358 help desks setup by the BMC and likewise other civic bodies too had setup in the MMR.
Sources in the railways said that currently the number of these help desks have come down ever since online system started. Meanwhile the number of people travelling in local trains is expected to go up as many in the age bracket of 18-44 years will complete their 84 days of double dose by mid-September. This age bracket has higher footfalls commuting in locals.
On September 1, the rail passenger associations also met the Central Railway. “We want the railways and state government to focus on staggered office timings. This will aid in carrying more people in local trains and reduce crowding during peak hours,” said Nandkumar Deshmukh, president, Federation of Rail Passengers Association. The passengers are unhappy over the decision to not issue daily tickets to people and only force them to buy monthly season passes.