Mumbai’s suburban rail commuters feel air-conditioned (AC) coaches in regular local trains are a better option than special air-conditioned trains,according to a survey conducted by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC).
Commuters have indicated that they prefer AC coaches to AC trains. They do not want trains that have all airconditioned coaches,but believe many trains should have some AC coaches, said Prakash Rao Vazalwar,chief operations manager of the MRVC.
The MRVC is the nodal agency planning and executing rail infrastructure projects for the city. Two months ago,it initiated a survey through which nearly 50,000 commuters opinions were sought on whether AC coaches/ AC trains should be introduced in the suburban section.
However,MRVCs survey was hit by poor response: Of the 50,000 people asked to fill the questionnaire,only 14,000 returned the forms. The MRVC had also asked people from the corporate sector to state their opinion on the same,but has received a lukewarm response from them too. The lack of interest from this category of commuters is unnerving for the MRVC,say officials,since the airconditioned coaches would cater to precisely such a group.
From the responses that did come in,the MRVC had attempted to deduce commuters opinion on the fare structure for a proposed airconditioned ride as well.
While commuters opinions on the fare structure vary,MVRC sources indicated that the fare could be proposed as being 50 per cent more than the current first class train journey fare. This will not only reduce the pressure on the first class,but also ensure that the AC coaches are not overcrowded even during the peak hours.
The MRVC report also states that commuters favour the introduction of such services within the current suburban system
However,we are yet to finalise the report. It will then be sent to the Central Railway and Western Railway and also to the Railway Board in New Delhi who will take a final decision, Vazalwar said.