“It’ll take some time for us to get used to it. First, the frequency way too low for us to plan our schedule according to it. Secondly, it would have been nice if they launched it during summers when we really need the AC. Right now, the Mumbai weather is pleasasnt enough and the seats + interiors are the same as your regular locals,” says Ramesh Tandon, a co-passenger I happened to talk to during my first local train journey.
Indeed, it was a better train than your usual local, but there was nothing to write home about it. It’s not like we haven’t been in AC trains. The difference is as much as the difference between Sleeper Class and 3rd AC in your regular domestic trains.
“I waited two hours to catch and experience this, but all that patience didn’t come to fruition. It was disappointing with a capital D. Nobody checked my ticket and I am sure as time goes on, it’ll stop being an elitist thing. Or less crowded than your usual locals. Ideally, all first class compartments in normal trains should be AC, since we pay an unfair amount of premium on travelling first class. It’s almost 10 times more expensive than second class tickets, and you have to withstand the same number of people. If you’re unlucky, you might see people with second class tickets travel first class, which is outrageous to say the least,” added Tandon.
As someone who has been travelling in Mumbai locals for years, I feel the need of the hour is increased frequency so that the crowd is manageable. People have to travel for hours like rats trapped in a cage. Getting down at a station can be a grueling task, and getting on the train can be tougher than a rugby match. People risk their lives jumping on a running train just to catch a seat. All that needs to stop.