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Prabhu for staggered work hrs to combat suburban commuter rush

Suresh Prabhu

Mumbai: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today asked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to explore the possibility of introducing staggered work hours for office-goers in Mumbai, which he said will reduce the peak hour rush in suburban trains.

“I requested the CM to have staggered office timing (for people in Mumbai). If we can stagger the office timing, the load will automatically go down. The CM agreed to consider this request favourably,” Prabhu told reporters after a lengthy meeting with Fadnavis here.

Asked if the staggered office timings, when implemented, will also be applicable to those working in private sector or will it be restricted only for government staff, Prabhu said, “It will be applicable to everyone (all suburban train commuters in Mumbai).”

Prabhu said railways are proposing two major elevated roads, one from CST to Panvel and another from Churchgate to Virar.

“The CM liked the idea. This was my idea that we should have six-lane roads running below the train (tracks). This will reduce the road traffic considerably and will bring in lot of revenue to the system. We are losing lot of money on suburban railways. Any time you want to add something, the viability issue comes in,” the minister said.

Suburban trains are known as “lifeline” of the financial capital of the country and ferry around 70-80 lakh commuters daily from far-flung areas located across its huge network, and any disruption in its services means huge inconvenience to commuters.

Prabhu said a standing committee for integrated transport solution will be created since multiple agencies are working on the transport system. “The CM has agreed to it,” he added.

He said Fadnavis has also given sanction to start MUTP-3 (Mumbai Urban Transport) project which has already been cleared by him and work on it will start “very quickly”.

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