7 Facts You Probably Did Not Know About Mumbai Trains
People using the Mumbai suburban train network for commuting have a reason to cheer as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on March 7 approved Phase-IIIA of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project.
Under the project, air-conditioned coaches with automatic doors will be included in the network to “improve comfort level and safety of commuters”.
To be built at an overall cost of Rs 3,3690 crore, the project is likely to be completed in five years. Under the project existing routes will be extended while new corridors will be built to provide “seamless travel for long-distance suburban passengers”.
Here are seven other features of the Mumbai rail network you probably did not know about:
- In peak hours, 14-16 people are packed in a one sq mt space in Mumbai trains. This is officially called “super-dense crush load”. About 4,500 people travel in passenger cars meant for 1,700 people at most. Some estimated that it is comparable to packing 14-16 people in a telephone booth. In 1998, according to a report by The Indian Express, super-dense crush load meant 10-11 people in a sq mt space. Over the past two decades, the space per people has shrunk further.
- Rail travel subsidies in Mumbai are not targeted and rarely reach low-income households. Data show that the households in the lowest 27 per cent of the income spectrum receive only 15.5 per cent of such subsidies. In fact, one fourth of them do not even use rail networks. As transportation costs are too high relative to income levels, they tend to live in informal settlements near where they work. Of the households that earn less than Rs 5,000 per month in Mumbai, 62.7 per cent travel mainly by foot. Only 10 per cent of them use trains.
- Traveling in Mumbai trains is likely to cut down the commute time significantly when compared with train networks in major global cities. This is because negotiating on congested Mumbai roads is a gargantuan task.
- Every day, about nine people die during various mishaps on Mumbai's suburban railway network. Even though this is largely a real estate problem, few realise this. Many die when they cross the railroad tracks because walking through overcrowded pavements is worse. Pavements and other spaces fit for traversing through foot are valuable real estate that ought to be allocated carefully. Similarly, the rail network occupies valuable real estate.
- Trips in Mumbai trains are long, but transit stations are not easily accessible. According to some estimates, density around Mumbai's main transit corridor is lower than that of cities that are far less dense. In France capital Paris, for example, density in a 10-km radius from the Central Business District (CBD) is many folds of that of Mumbai's, but Paris' density is merely a fraction of that of Mumbai's.
- Typically, Mumbai trains have 15 coaches and this is rarely true of trains across the world. Even Shanghai's trains have only 12 coaches.
- The Mumbai rail network is a major cause of road congestion in Mumbai, the world's densest major city. This is because Mumbai's rail network creates barriers between neighbourhoods. This also raises commute times in Mumbai. Railway tracks being at grade (Railway lines crossing roads at the same level and not through a bridge or a tunnel) is a major reason why nine people die on the suburban railway network every day.