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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Change YOU helped bring about

After being flooded with complaints about bad seats on its 'complain through SMS service', CR is replacing all seats in 1st class compartments

    Using the 'complain through SMS' service introduced recently by the Central Railway, commuters have brought about the first major change to ease their daily travel – they will now get better quality seats.
    Following a series of SMS complaints about uneven seats, B B Modgil, general manager of CR, ordered replacement of all seats in the first class compartments. CR's Matunga workshop has taken up the task on a war footing, replacing seats of at least 20 coaches every month.
    Seats in first class compartments of local trains generally slump in the middle. Over time, they become uncomfortable, with high edges and uneven surfaces. "The Railways used densified thermally bonded polyester
for these seats. The material was introduced in long distance trains and later used for Mumbai locals. To maintain the height of the seats, the thickness had to be reduced to 4 inches. But these seats could not take the passenger load," said a Railway official, who did not want to be named.
    Last month, CR had introduced an SMS-based commuter feedback system, and asked people to message their views about local train services to 9004411111. From day one, first class commuters bombarded CR with complaints about the jagged seats. At least one or two SMSes daily were about the seats causing backache.
    Modgil, who personally at
tends to the complaints and takes frequent local train rides agreed with the commuters.
    Shriniwas Mudgerikar, chief public relations officer of CR, said, "The GM has ordered replacement of these seats during the periodical overhauling activity. The new seats are made of more comfortable and durable rubberised coir."
    The Matunga workshop has already replaced seats in 60 coaches. A K Tewari, chief workshop manager, said, "These seats are tested for the kind of load seen in Mumbai locals. We have speeded up replacement work and hope to finish 200 more coaches in the next three months. By December, we expect all uneven seats to be gone."

Commuters speak

"I avoid taking the window seats, as these are more inclined and cause back pain if we sit for more than 15 minutes. CR should also look at keeping the seats clean."
    — Kamlesh Jain, Kalyan

"The first class fare is almost three times more than the general class fare. The uneven seats do not allow even three people to sit comfortably. Proper seats are the least we can expect from the railways." — Chandrashekhar Bhuyar,Thane

The new durable rubberised coir seats

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