Although it has been over a month since Mumbai’s first air-conditioned local train started chugging, the number of commuters travelling on it leaves a lot to be desired. Till January 29, only 1.16 lakh commuters have taken a ride on it, and this means roughly 3,600 people each day and approximately over 300 commuters inside each AC service.To begin with, the statistics collated shows that January has seen an improvement as far as sales of daily ticket and season passes are concerned. In the last 28 days, Western Railway (WR) has sold 14,845 daily tickets and 1,903 season passes — which includes weekly, fortnightly and monthly passes. The total passengers using the service this month itself is 1,08,013 — of which 92,974 commuters are season-ticket holders, and it’s from them the authorities earned Rs 52.32 lakh.“The trend coming up is that people are accepting the idea of buying season passes. However, we need to work on ideas that would attract more commuters into using the AC local,” said a WR official.These numbers are far less than what the AC local has been built for, and that is evident with almost empty rounds it makes while thousands wait on platforms and not board the AC train. The AC local has a passenger carrying capacity of 5,964 commuters with 1,028 seats. However, each train service sees a skeletal 300 commuters or so.This is despite the amendments that the Ministry of Railways has made as far as pricing is concerned, and changes in the class of commuters eligible to travel in it. On January 22, the Railways allowed First Class commuters of non-AC trains holding monthly season passes and daily tickets to travel in AC locals, by collecting difference of fare. However, figures show that in the last one week barely 62 commuters upgraded their tickets from TCs and 45 commuters upgraded it from the UTS system at ticket windows.“The revised fare system is not beneficial for commuters,” said a Goregaon resident who goes to Churchgate for work.

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Month on, new AC local attracts few commuters