May 18, 2007

Enough is enough. Why not go the BEST way?

As each day passes, it seems that the pathetic situation in the local trains cannot get worse. Alas, the feeling is short-lived. The crowd simply keeps on increasing and the rate at which the rush increases is simply astounding. It does not matter whether you travel by first class or second class, it is all the same. The situation inside the crowded compartment in peak hours is so terrible that just the thought of traveling in it puts me off. At any given point in time, my body is in contact with at least four other bodies from different sides. The stink after a hard day’s work on the return journey home is just the ‘icing on the cake’!

What makes me feel more disgusting is the fact that our tolerance levels almost edges at the point of indifference. Nobody does absolutely anything to try and improve it, and it includes me. Oh yes, people do talk about how grave the conditions are but the reaction stops just there. I admit that a group of people cannot just change the situation, but collectively I feel we can. Easier said than done though... I will be the happiest person to get up one day and see all the commuters on an ‘indefinite strike’, refusing to travel in such appalling conditions. Imagine what would be the implications. Even if you ignore the loss to the government’s exchequer, absence of such humongous workforce from work will cripple the entire business of the city! Do you think the administration would then be able to sit pat on this issue? More importantly, will the business houses and companies allow the government to stay put?

If I probe more into the entire situation, I find that the core problem is not just limited to the local trains. It runs deeper into the state of our minds. We are a rotten set of selfish people who are completely indifferent to what is happening around us. This pathetic state of mind gets appreciated by being referred to as ‘strong willed people/city’. Bull-shit! The fact that we travel in such conditions does not reflect our strong will. It exposes our lack of courage to stand up and demand better living conditions. We just don’t have the balls to change things around us. Who would want to sacrifice a day’s pay and run for the larger cause of betterment of this city?

We still have the same old four railway tracks on the central side for decades now. I see some work going around for few months now to increase the number of tracks. But I fail to understand how it would solve the problem. Is this being done to moderate the crowd conditions or to just smoothen traffic flows during peak hours? Laying down additional tracks for long-distance trains separately would not address the former issue at all.

Rather than expanding in width, why not expand in length? How about having double-decker trains like the BEST buses! To my mind, raising the height of the overhead wires would be simpler than laying down more tracks. Of course, the ‘widening’ task can continue but the concept of double-decker trains would address the rush factor more cleanly. At least I believe so.

Having said all this, the practical side of me is smiling sympathetically. I should be happy if all these are seen before my son has to use local trains. The thought scares me. May be, it’s time to float my CV for overseas jobs!

7 comments:

anuja said...

Nice thoughts!
The double-decker trains do sound like a good solution...
And hopefully the bureaucratic red tape will shift and we will see the light of such a day soon.. (Aha... Blame it all on the government!)

One little glitch; Dont you think that the powers-that-be can threaten people to return to their jobs and then a one-day strike wont even matter? Just a passing thought...

harish_cmenon said...

I really do not think we can be forced to get back to work. There is already a dearth of human capital, at least in Mumbai. Businesses would find it difficult to replace all of us so easily. And with the vision of making Mumbai the International Financial Centre, it is only fair to expect that the conditions improve. At the ground level, incrementally I hear people talking about leaving Mumbai b'coz of this horrible mess.

Dear Dairy... said...

The short term solution to this chronic problem lies in the increasing number of coaches...Its about time that we had all trains with 12 cars..which would provide some marginal relief...
But there is another way of looking at this...You can crib as much as you want...When it comes to public transport system Mumbai is ahead of all other metros...It gives you the flexibility of travelling to the remotest corners of the city in the most economical way...Take your own example...Imagine yourself in a city like Bangalore...where you would be required to travel the distance between ulhasnagar and worli...

Friendly Neighbourhood said...

Hey Harish,
Nice to read &really it creates a positive atitude to do something to change the stituation from WORSE to atleast GOOD, but for collective efforts u need people i think u shud put this on the local train for every1 to read it & atleast during rainy season when every1 is annoyed of the facility , will really think of implemending WHAT U CALL AS COLLECTIVE EFFORTS.

Good going......Keep it up

Diviya said...

Welcome. Double decker trains sound interesting, provided we can handle the centre of gravity issues at that speed.

Mangesh said...

hi harry da puttar...grt to c u writing..as expected female fans have crowded u here too ..i am sure they will allow u to travel by ladies 1 st class..its less crowded and i hope u wont complain if it does get really crowded :)

sumi said...

i guess u r right..but another fact is that even when people do think about such issues,all they do is blog it or make a PAGE 3 of TRAFFIC SIGNAL..hehehe
but as i did say that good people do exist (in my post) i guess someday he/she will come..
or who knows there might just be a wake up call from within...