ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Easing Mumbai’s Suburban Train Congestion

A Case for Non-motorised Transport

Mumbai’s suburban trains have been plagued with the issue of overcrowding during peak hours. Big ticket projects—like the Mumbai Urban Transport Projects that have been funded by the World Bank—were implemented with the aim of creating new capacity and bringing down congestion in coaches during peak hours, but have failed to meet their stated per rake passenger targets. The folly of the singular focus on creating extra passenger capacity is highlighted and instead an integrated approach is suggested, wherein non-motorised transport infrastructure can take the load off the suburban system by weaning short-distance travellers away from it.

The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for suggestions and recommendations.

Cities are “engines of economic growth” and a city’s transport systems are the wheels of this engine (Kumar and Agarwal 2013). Nowhere is this more pertinent than in Mumbai, India’s largest commercial centre. Mumbai’s transport system governs its livability and economic efficiency (ESMAP 2014: 3). However, the metropolis is infamous for the overcrowding of its suburban trains, which sees scores of commuters hanging on to the compartment doors during peak hours. The city’s status as a financial capital and economic powerhouse is threatened by poor transport infrastructure. Unless there is a change in the way Mumbai commutes, the city may lapse into the “vicious circle of economic decline and lowered quality of life,” more so because of its ever-increasing population (MMRDA 2008: 9). “Suburban trains are carrying commuters beyond their carrying capacity to meet the commuting needs of the city and the system is facing a major challenge of overcrowding,” the then Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu had written in his foreword to Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC 2015) White Paper.

Several multimillion dollar projects, focused solely on boosting capacity and easing congestion, have been undertaken. However, they have fallen woefully short of solving the problem of overcrowding in trains. This article explores the potential ability of non-motorised transport (NMT) to ease the pressure on suburban trains and proposes a comprehensive strategy for decongesting Mumbai’s suburban system, one which offers a range of environmental and social co-benefits.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

Pay INR 50.00

(Readers in India)

Pay $ 6.00

(Readers outside India)

Updated On : 26th Aug, 2019
Back to Top