Grievances related to FOBs, illegal Commuters shoot up

Mumbai:  Central Railway has received 2,554 complaints on SMSs from suburban commuters between April and December 2013. Of this, the complaints pertaining to foot overbridge (FOB) widening/extension and repairs have shot up by 76% as compared to the previous year. The complaints against unauthorized commuters travelling on Main and Harbour lines have also gone up by 29%.

Said CR chief spokesperson Atul Rane, “We are open to criticism if there is a genuine problem. Every an SMS-complaint is given priority and attended to at the earliest. We send our technical staff to the site/area, platform or in the train compartment for which the complaint has been received. While there is no reply facility for SMS-complaints, you can be rest assured that we are looking into it on an urgency.”

He further stated that commuters can log in any kind of complaint related to passenger amenities, platforms, trains, security and other services by sending a simple SMS to 9004411111.

Admitting that FOB-related complaints were high, Rane said that there were plans to construct new FOBs and widen a few on Main and Harbour lines. “In fact, if you look at the entire set of statistics compiled by CR till December 2013, you will appreciate that the number of SMS complaints have dropped for issues like punctuality of trains, light and fan problems, announcements on platforms, cleanliness in coaches, booking counter problems, etc. We were flooded with complaints in the past, but ever since we improved services based on commuter grievances, we have seen a drop in SMS complaints in these areas,” he pointed out.

“The highest drop in number of passenger complaints was pertaining to cleanliness of rakes (78% drop),” an official said.

A commuter rights activist, however, said based on SMS-based complaints, one cannot conclude that all is well. “Many commuters don’t complain. So the ground reality could be different when it comes to announcements, cleanliness in coaches, ticketing system etc,” he said.