Mumbai moving to its extended northern suburbs, shows data on rail commuters

Mumbai: The average local train commuter on Western Railway has moved northwards to the extended suburbs of Mira Road, Bhayander, Nalasopara and Vasai-Virar due to the formation of nuclear families. An MRVC official said Railway statistics indicate the shift. He said, “If a suburban commuter shifts from Kandivli to Bhayander or Virar, his journey to his place of work will obviously get longer.” On CR, the average journey has not increased primarily due to a lower population in townships along this corridor. The other reason is the opening of the Trans-Harbour Link in 2004, which has made the journey to Navi Mumbai shorter for those staying between Bhandup to Kalyan and beyond. “WR’s frequency of fast trains is much better than CR’s. One can also expect fast services at any time of the day on WR whereas on CR, fast corridors are %punctual and with good frequency only during peak hours,” an MRVC %official said. In 2001-02, the average trip length was 28.9km on CR compared with 25.55 km on WR. But, in 2008-09, the average journey trip on WR was 30.8km, surpassing CR’s average of 30.5km. A CR official said, “The Trans-Harbour Link now has 210 12-car services, up from the initial 12 nine-car ones. Earlier, commuters had to travel to Kurla to change trains. By 2011, Kurla saw an almost 4.4% drop in passengers, whereas at Thane—the starting and termination point for the Trans-Harbour Link—%the numbers increased %by 4.7%. CR passengers also increased marginally because of heavy demand for housing in Panvel as Navi Mumbai was becoming unaffordable. Also, there is a housing boom in townships such as Ambernath, Badlapur and Titwala, which are north of Kalyan. Hence, there is marginal increase now but we expect the% numbers to grow in the coming years.