A fortnight ago, Central Railway’s first-ever AC local commenced its maiden journey. Two weeks since the service took off, it has been noted that not enough people are travelling in the first AC local on the Harbour line. Reportedly, only 1,400 passengers (28%) are using the service, though the train can carry 5,000 commuters at a time.
However, not discouraged by the lukewarm reception, Central Railway is planning another AC local, which will run every day, including weekends. CR is yet to conduct a survey for multi-national company employees located on the trans-Harbour section. The rail corporation plans to target these employees and request them to take the AC local and improve the ridership.
As per a senior official, they have been holding meetings to decide how to conduct a survey on Thane-Vashi and Thane-Panvel sections to identify how many MNC companies are located. The rail corporation is hoping that the idea of urging these employees will increase the ridership on AC local train. First of all, they will identify the companies and commercial outlets on the Thane-Vashi route and later urge their employees to patronise AC locals over taxis and auto-rickshaws.
Shivaji Sutar, chief public relation officer (CPRO), CR said, “The plan of action will be ready soon and once it has been done, they will start approaching the companies and commercial outlets.” Since the last few years, areas such as Airoli, Rabale and Turbhe have made progress as both commercial and residential spaces.
A major reason behind starting the AC local service on the route was due to an unprecedented rise in the number of first-class commuters. Currently, the second rake is undergoing tests for its electrical components by the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) and Integral Coach Factory (ICF). The rake is expected to be ready within a month while a third rake is expected to arrive in a week.