March 1, 2018 1:51:12 am
A day after the new foot overbridge connecting Parel station on the Central Railway (CR) to the flower market outside the west entrance of the station was inaugurated, crowds thinned on the bridge even during the peak hours. The majority of regular commuters who use Parel station feel the new bridge does not benefit them as it does not connect Parel with Elphinstone Road station on the Western Railway (WR).
Located north of the existing overbridge that connects Parel and Elphinstone Road stations on which a stampede in September 2017 claimed 23 lives, the new bridge connects Parel station to the Dadar flower market on the west and to KEM hospital in Parel on east. It was built to ease the load of the existing bridge that witnesses excessive rush during peak hours.
Zaid Wani (43), who works in a multinational corporation near Elphinstone Road station, said, “Most people who use Parel station have to go to the Elphinstone station to use the Western line. As the new bridge does not serve this purpose, I am unable to use it.”
Another commuter, bank employee Chirag Sanghvi (35), said, “My office is located to the south of the station and using the existing bridge helps me reach office faster. I don’t mind waiting for some time for the crowd to reduce.” In the morning peak hour on Wednesday, the new bridge witnessed less than 10 per cent of the rush seen on the existing bridge.
The new bridge, however, is useful for those headed to the flower market. Jaishree Kulaskar (62), a flower vendor, said, “Earlier, I had to take the bridge from the existing Elphinstone Road station. It was far from the market and thus we had to walk a great distance. I was forced to cross the railway tracks sometimes to avoid walking so much. The new bridge is helpful.”
Some commuters even said they preferred crossing the railway tracks to using the old bridge. Ashutosh Mangain (26), a corporate professional, said, “The existing bridge is narrow and very crowded in the rush hours. When trains have halted at both Parel and Elphinstone Road stations, there is chaos on the bridge.”
He said he believed crossing the railway tracks was safer for him. “The new bridge does not help me reach my office and thus I will opt out of using it,” Margain added. Railway officials said a new bridge connecting the two parallel railway stations would be built soon. “The Railways is already building a bridge to connect Parel and Elphinstone Road stations. At 12 metres in width, this will ease the load off the existing bridge. It will be ready by March-end,” said a senior railway official.
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