Mumbai, 2nd May 2023: The Central Government is taking steps to fully air-condition the Mumbai Suburban Railway, and the Mumbai Railway Development Corporation (MRVC) is actively working on the project.
To finance the “MUTP-3A” project, the Shinde-Fadnavis government has approved a loan of Rs 7,000 crores. The MRVC has also started a survey to efficiently migrate Mumbaikars from conventional local trains to AC trains, and a private company has been hired for this purpose. The company will submit the survey report to MRVC within a year.
In total, 238 AC Locals are expected to be commissioned under the MRVC’s Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) for the comfortable travel of Mumbaikars, including 47 AC locals in MUTP-3 and 191 in MUTP-3a. This project was put on hold in 2019 due to a lack of response from the government. However, after the coup d’état in the state, the Maharashtra government has decided to approve the revised project and provide financial support. As a result, the process of raising loans from international financial institutions for this project has been accelerated, and local production of 238 ACs under MUTP-3 and MUTP-3a has been facilitated.
As the Mumbai local is transitioning to AC, it is necessary to study and formulate a policy on how to migrate traditional non-AC locals to AC. A company has been appointed for this purpose, and MRVC has given them a deadline of December 2023 to submit all survey reports. After that, a policy will be decided based on all aspects, and passengers will be shifted from conventional locales of Central and Western Railways to AC locales with minimum inconvenience. The main objective of the study is to develop an efficient migration policy from an operational point of view.
The study will include a detailed analysis of existing passengers and prepare a possible migration strategy for the inclusion of AC locals on the Mumbai suburban section of the Central and Western Railways. The current traffic will be studied using existing information regarding origin-destination matrix, passenger profile, comfort and convenience of travel, congestion, and other factors.
The MRVC is taking all necessary measures to ensure that the introduction of new AC locals does not inconvenience passengers or affect the schedule. After all non-air-conditioned locales are converted into air-conditioned locales, ticket fare issues will have to be addressed. The study will also ask passengers if they would be willing to travel in air-conditioned locales if the ticket fares were reduced.
As the number of suburban AC locals increases, the ticket price of air-conditioned AC locals will decrease. The railways had reduced the ticket fare by half to encourage more passengers to travel on AC locals, and this initiative has been successful so far. The AC Local has been receiving a good response, and the incidence of accidents due to people hanging from the doors has been reduced. At present, there are 79 AC local trips per day on Western Railway and 56 AC local trips on Central Railway.
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