Road traffic surges while railway and bus authorities expect up to 40% loss in ridership due to COVID-19

Road traffic surges while railway and bus authorities expect up to 40% loss in ridership due to COVID-19

In what is considered to be a wise move, many Mumbaikars are deciding to stay at home, particularly those who have returned from an overseas trip amidst fears of contracting COVID-19 or the coronavirus disease as it is otherwise known. 

However, as illustrated by a recent report, the virus not only affects those who came back from abroad, but also those who are in proximity to them i.e. community spread. A combination of all these factors, as well as other cases in the state, appear to have had a significant impact on the operations of Western Railway (WR) as well as Central Railway (CR) in Mumbai. 

An official from WR said, “Against a daily ridership of 37 lakh, we have estimated the commuter count at 26 lakh on Thursday.” While CR officials didn’t offer specific details, it is said that ridership was down by at least 40 per cent on its Main and Harbor lines as per an internal assessment. 

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However, traffic in key areas of the city was reportedly higher on Thursday than the two days preceding it. This includes the Malad-Goregaon stretch of the Western Express Highway, Andheri’s SV Road, the road outside Dadar station on the western side, SVP Road, Babulnath Road, NS Patkar Marg, and Worli Naka. 

Authorities have so far failed to provide proper reasoning behind the congestion. “Some people perhaps decided to head out after being behind closed doors for a couple of days, adding to traffic on account of motorists heading home after work. They could also have set out on short trips to make purchases or for professional tasks,” a traffic police officer was quoted as saying by TOI.

A Metro rail official said that the ridership on Thursday was only 2.4 lakh while the average weekday ridership is said to be 4.4 lakh. As of now, the total cases in Maharashtra have risen to 52, which means it is still the most affected state in the country. There has been one COVID-19 related death in the state so far. 

“The platform was almost empty when I boarded a local at 6.30 pm,” a Goregaon resident said. Meanwhile, a commuter from Kurla added: “Around 10.30 am, I saw almost empty trains even in the up direction (towards CSMT).”