A total of 10.96 crore passengers used the Western Railway (WR) in September 2018 as against 10.76 crore in September 2017 — an 18.5% rise, data revealed. Passenger associations and railway officials said the ongoing Metro work, which has slowed traffic to a crawl on the Western Express Highway, was behind the sharp rise. According to the data, on an average, 52,000 more commuters use the WR daily.
Data showed that in September, there were 20 lakh more passengers, including 3.83 lakh more for air-conditioned (AC) local trains, at an average of 15,651 commuters daily. The WR earned Rs65.73 crore in September 2018 as compared to Rs61.63 crore last September.
Similarly, there were 11.07 crore more passengers in August, as against 10.39 crore in the same period last year.
“The increase in the number of passengers in September is because of intensified metro work in the western suburbs. Another reason could be owing to the festival season,” said a WR official.
Passenger associations have seconded the view. “After the monsoon ended, the Metro work has gained momentum. This is the primary reason for the rapid increase of passengers. We can expect a further increase in the coming months,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad. The association have also asked the WR to improve and strengthen the tracks between Andheri and Borivli. “The railways should not focus on increasing the speed of its local trains, but on providing better tracks between Andheri and Borivli. The local trains between these stations operate at snail’s pace,” added Gupta.