Pune: Cancellation of a late night local train between Pune and Lonavla and a morning DEMU passenger train between Pune and Daund caused inconvenience to commuters and irked daily passengers.
The trains have been cancelled since December 6 as they were running almost empty in both directions, causing revenue loss to the Railways. However, around 1,000 passengers suffered due to the cancellations. Many passengers used social media to protest. They sought a reply from the Railway administration, but in vain.
Commuter organisations expressed shock over the decision. They said, “It will be a nightmare for people, especially women, who travel daily to work.”
Harsha Shah, President of Railway Pravasi Sangh, said, “The Railways is not a profit-making organisation. It has been set up to serve common people. Even if a few passengers travel during night, it cannot be a reason to cancel the trains or even think of cancelling them permanently.”
The decision will hit hundreds of commuters travelling between Talegaon and Pune, said Shah, adding, “This is because the PMPML also operates very few buses during the night. Commuters taking late night trains prefer to travel by local trains as they carry heavy luggage with them. It is convenient for them to reach Pune station directly.”
Rajesh Singh, a working professional, said, “My work gets over at 10.30 pm because it’s a second shift. I face problems as there is no train at 11 pm. I am using app-based cab service since the cancellation of the train. I am not the only passenger, there are hundreds of passengers who work in the second shift or work late in the evening and prefer to take the last two trains. The local trains are faster and much cheaper than PMPML buses, which is the only other mode of transport for them,” he said.
Vikas Deshpnade, Central Railway Regional Advisory Committee member, said, “Public transport is not a profit-making business. It is meant to provide facilities to passengers. So, cancelling the Talegaon-Pune local service abruptly is an inappropriate decision. There is not a single train that halts at all stations after 11 pm. This will cause inconvenience to those working in the second shift. The railway administration must seriously rethink the decision.”
Similarly, on Pune-Daund route, there are 11 shuttle passenger trains, which include five DEMU service trains. The Railway administration has decided to cancel the poorly patronised train services number 71407/71408 Pune-Daund-Pune for one month from December 6.
Passengers on these routes have been demanding DEMU trains for the past five years. Train number 71407 leaves Pune at 10.32 am and reaches Daund at 12.35 pm, whereas train number 71408 leaves Daund at 12.45 pm and reaches Pune at 2.23 pm. Many passengers from Urali travel by this train. They were stranded for over two hours at Pune station due to the cancellation.
“Several college students and working professionals are dependent on the train. Thus, the administration must take steps immediately to resolve the problem,” said Deshpande. The railway administration has clarified that a daily fast Mumbai-bound passenger reaches Lonavla at 11.05 pm. Another local (99802) is available at 12.10 pm.