Railways is the lifeline of the nation. Nowhere is this as true as in Mumbai, where local trains ensure Mumbaikars reaches their destination on time. At a total length of 459-km the network has more than 3,000 services of local trains carrying around 80 lakh Mumbaikars on a daily basis, making it one of the busiest urban transport systems in the world.
To ensure Mumbai has world-class infrastructure to suit its metropolitan status, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a number of initiatives to upgrade the suburban system, which will help improve passenger satisfaction and safety, reduce congestion, and plan for the future.
With regards to passenger safety, Railways is working in mission mode. Foot overbridges (FOBs), platforms and pathways on platform end are now treated as safety items having highest priority with no restriction of budget. To allow free and safe movement of passengers, 87 FOBs have been constructed since 2014. A further 70 FOBs will be commissioned this year while 55 will be commissioned next year. The average time for construction has been reduced from 8-9 months to about 3 months. We have also raised the height of all station platforms in the suburban section to allow safer entry and exit into trains.
In the 2018-19 budget, an unprecedented Rs 55,000 crore was announced for a new project in Mumbai – the MUTP 3A, showcasing the government's ambitious plans for the suburban system. Under this a number of lines will be extended and introduced. A communication-based train control system will also be introduced for improved safety and punctuality. Funds will also be allocated for station improvement and procurement of AC rakes. Having personally travelled in locals as a student, I know the difficulties of an average commuter. We have given the green light for procuring 210 AC rakes. Since 2014, 214 services have been added to the Mumbai suburban network.
We are now improving stations with more lifts, escalators, Swacchata and security cameras. We have also focused on security of women. Taking feedback, a number of CCTV cameras have been relocated at stations to ensure better focus on ladies coaches.
Over the last four-and-a-half years, the Railways has become cleaner, safer, faster and more convenient. Our efforts to improve will ensure the Mumbai suburban system is a part of the New India vision.