WHILE TRAIN passengers were hit by the mega block caused by the Central Railway, leading to the cancellation of all intercity services and most of the express services between Pune and Mumbai, it didn’t cause any major surge in travellers using alternative modes of transport.
The state transport buses and cabs operating between the two cities, which had expected to see a surge in passengers, didn’t see any remarkable change. State transport officials claim that being a Sunday, many office-goers chose to skip the journey between the two cities.
According to officials of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), the Pune division had expected a huge rush of passengers on Sunday due to mega block and had made preparations accordingly.
“The division had planned to ply about a 100 additional buses from Pune Station and Swargate Depot. We had made preparations too. However, there was no noticeable surge in the passengers. We have only plied 12 extra buses since morning, which is a norm on a Sunday,” said an assistant traffic controller with Swargate Depot.
Another MSRTC official, manning the traffic control of the air conditioned Shivneri buses at Pune Station depot, said that until late in the evening, the depot plied 59 buses to Dadar, which is 10 to 12 buses extra than the usual.
“As planned, we plied extra buses, however, only some of them were 100 per cent full. People seem to have avoided travelling as it was a Sunday,” said MA Khandare, traffic controller.
On Sunday, the Central Railway demolished over a century-old Hancock Railway Overbridge in Mumbai. To facilitate the demolition, the railway authorities executed a ‘mega block’ which led to cancellation of all the intercity trains and some express services between Pune and Mumbai on Sunday. The ‘mega block’ that began soon after midnight lasted until 6 pm on Sunday.
Pune Railway Station too did not witness any chaos as was expected in case of cancellations. Regular travellers, it seemed, chose to remain at home. Platform No 1, which bustles in the morning hours when Deccan Queen, Sinhagad Express and Pragati Express depart, was quiet on Sunday. Regular travellers said that the news about the block made them take the decision to stay put.
Sandesh Deshmukh, a BSc student at Modern College, who travels to Kalyan every weekend said, “I had booked a train ticket for Sunday six days ago. When I read about the block, I cancelled the journey. I chose to stay at my hostel in Pune rather than suffer the travel to Kalyan via road.” The train traffic on Pune-Mumbai route commenced post 6 pm.