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Commuters stage a protest outside Virar Railway Station demanding Mumbai local trains to resume

A few days ago, another group of passengers had also staged a protest at Nalasopara railway station for the same reason. However, addressing their issues, officials increased the number of ST buses, with a hope to offer some relief.

Commuters stage a protest outside Virar Railway Station demanding Mumbai local trains to resume
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Mumbai Local Trains aka the lifeline of the city has not been functioning for the general public, ever since the coronavirus lockdown was announced in March 2020. Lakhs of passengers in Mumbai use the local train for their commute from one end of the city to another. Currently, selected services in the city have resumed under the Unlock 4.0 guidelines issued by the Maharashtra government. While people are allowed to open shops and resume work with 30 per cent staff, they are worried about not being able to reach the workplace, as the train services remain shut.

Expressing the angst, some passengers, on Monday, September 7, staged a protest outside Virar station demanding the resumption of suburban local services. Currently, the government has allowed BEST buses to run in the city, however, not everybody is able to use the services. Moreover, the buses are crowded due to limited mode of transport. 

Meanwhile, the Mumbai local train services are currently running only essential service personnel, and the government if yet to take a decision for the same to resume for the public. With the increasing number of coronavirus cases, officials are worried about the spread, and this has been causing the delay, eventually adding to the stress faced by several Mumbaikars.

At present, travelling BEST buses also consumes time, and with more vehicles on the roads, one has to face heavy traffic congestion, especially at peak hours. Besides this, travelling by private vehicle adds more the fuel cost, and due to the inconvenience, the tolerance of passengers is being tested. With an aim to put forward their demand, a group of people gathered at Virar Statio on Monday, at 11 am, asking the government for a possible solution.

Expressing their concerns they said that since the number of ST and BEST buses are less, they have to stand in queue for a long time, and in some cases, even take a detour on the highway. Further, due to traffic congestion and travel time, they are not able to reach the office on time, because of which they have to face a salary cut. On the way back, it gets late to reach home, due to the same reasons. Moreover, they also expressed concerns regarding the spread of coronavirus infection in the bus. Police intervened and dispersed the crowd later during the day.

A few days ago, another group of passengers had also staged a protest at Nalasopara railway station for the same reason. However, addressing their issues, officials increased the number of ST buses, with a hope to offer some relief.

 The state government has given permission to start businesses on certain conditions. Moreover, inter-district travel, BEST buses, ST buses, taxi-rickshaws, Ola-Uber, private vehicles are also allowed. Therefore, passengers who can choose these services, are reaching their business and offices. However, commuters who choose a long-distance journey or have financial limitations are facing difficulties, as local trains are yet to resume.

The state government is working towards finding a solution for the betterment of the public, however, under the current guidelines, both Mumbai local trains and Mumbai Metro are shut until further notice.

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