The Bombay High Court asked the Central and Western Railway authorities to adopt crowd management techniques to ensure a smooth ride for suburban railway passengers, including elderly commuters.
“Consider introducing an ‘all standing’ boggie in suburban trains to accommodate the crowd… at least do it on a pilot project to check the results,” a bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice S B Shukhre said.
The court had taken suo moto cognisance of a letter written by a senior citizen, A B Thakkar, in 2009 and converted it into a PIL.
Thakkar contended that entering a jam-packed train during peak hours was a nightmarish experience for the elderly.
The bench also suggested the railways consider having double decker suburban trains to help crowd management during peak hours.
The Judges further asked the state government to consider appointing a private agency to carry out a survey to analyse the movement of passengers during peak and non-peak hours to come up with ways to improve crowd management.
The railways informed the court that around 38,000 senior citizens travel daily on suburban trains. The railways have, after court orders, reserved 14 seats in a compartment for the elderly.
Justice Patil also suggested to the railways to consider having space for senior citizens in ladies special trains as it is difficult for senior citizens to board the train otherwise.
The bench, however, going back on the issue of overcrowding, asked “during peak hours, can a senior citizen enter the compartment? If not, then how can he or she even be able to reach to his/her seat?”
The court gave the railways time till November 18 to respond to the suggestions made by the bench today.