Bad design: The Mumbai local train is the city’s lifeline. Why is the network so difficult to use?


I travel by the Mumbai neighbourhood train each day and regularly take the metro. A large number of individuals in Mumbai do this as well. The drive is such an everyday piece of our lives that we don’t stop to think how an outcast would feel about the bedlam that we have disguised over long periods of the (terrible) encounter. From what I can figure, they would be befuddled, best case scenario and disappointed even under the least favourable conditions.

If I somehow happened to depict my regular drive, it would seem like this:

I take the 8.08 Churchgate-bound moderate train from stage number 2 in Borivali. Land at Mahalaxmi and take transport number 154 to my office.

Presently this is a typical piece of my everyday practice. In the event that you are new to the city, you’d know only a few of the parameters required to achieve your goal. The holes in data ought to in a perfect world be filled by the framework through UX plan. A decent client encounter configuration enables a client to accomplish the ideal objective with negligible exertion. In the event of a drive, a’s client will likely go from indicating A point B. It is criminal to expect that the client would know anything over what point An and B is.

Sadly, the nearby trains in Mumbai, and even the metro bomb fabulously intending to this.


I as of late headed out to Europe. I was concerned that it would be a strenuous undertaking to request bearings in a dialect I wasn’t truly agreeable in. Be that as it may, I was overwhelmed by how helpful the Paris Metro was for finished beginners, despite the fact that it was worked more than 100 years back. It has its issues (it is moderate, old, problematic and smells like piss) however convenience isn’t one of them.

Umm.. where’s the stage?

Along these lines, you need to attempt the train some portion of my everyday venture at later of the day. The thing that matters is that you simply realize you need to board at Borivali and land at Mahalaxmi. Nothing else.

Okay? how about we get moving.

You’ve come to Borivali station in the wake of battling your way through a car influx of auto rickshaws, BEST transports and for reasons unknown, roadside sustenance slows down. You see Borivali written in gigantic letters outside guaranteeing you that you are at the correct place.

You enter the station, purchase your ticket to Mahalaxmi. All great. How about we get to the train. This is the point at which you are hit with your first inquiry: “Where the hellfire is my train?”

When you enter the station you are welcomed by a pointer on a small screen. Mahalaxmi is mysteriously gone on it. On the off chance that you are fortunate, it may even be working.

OK, so there are trains to Churchgate, Virar, etc. Some have “S” or “F” composed alongside them. You think: “What the heck is that?”

In this is issue number one. It is highly unlikely a client can think about where her or his train will touch base without thoroughly understanding headings, moderate and quick trains, and where the stages are.

This is the manner by which Paris Metro tackles a piece of this issue. All stations on a course are recorded before one enters the stage.

They don’t have the moderate/quick unpredictability in Paris so we’ll need to make sense of it ourselves. Likewise, they don’t have unscheduled stage changes.

Give us a chance to accept you by one way or another make sense of which stage number to go to. You get to your stage, that is, stage number eight (for which you needed to walk the length of two stages). You discover a generally vacant spot on the stage. The train arrives, however, you’re let you know can’t enter this mentor which makes you think: “Why the damnation wouldn’t I be able to get in this mentor?”

There is no sign to demonstrate that the unfilled spot you found on the stage is the place the baggage compartment of the train stops. You’re made impolitely mindful of this reality by the surging dabbawalas leaving the compartment with their vast plate. In any case, pause. That is not it. It could have been any of alternate compartments you are not permitted to enter but rather don’t have a clue about the halting places of:


Top notch


Women top notch

This is issue number two. A client has no real way to think about where her or his compartment will be. The main signs are the shaded groups on columns. Red and yellow for five stars, green and yellow for women. How on earth will anybody think about what those cues mean?

Okay, there are a few signs to disclose to you that you need to enter any of the general or below average compartments, yet it wouldn’t bankrupt the railroads to put out clear signs.

Anyway, presently you realize that you have a place with the unwashed masses below average. So you acknowledge it and endeavour to discover a place to sit. You make do with the “fourth seat” that you are quickly approached to clear by an 80-year-old relic of a man. As your sense of self is at a record-breaking low from the humiliation of being so dumbfounded, and the ensuing pushing and pushing, the stations pass by, the train gets full and all of a sudden you are hit with another acknowledgement: “Where the hellfire am I?”

You are stuck between bodies who meddle with your line of vision that needs to go through a little window with barbecues, or the entryway, towards a little bored with the station’s name written in three dialects.

This is issue number three. Another client could never think about when their goal is going to arrive on the off chance that they can’t see where they are.

Look at the span of the board in the photograph above to the one beneath in the Paris Metro. The entire board above is as substantial as only one letter in the image beneath.

To be reasonable, the trains and metro have truly attempted to take care of this issue utilizing two strategies:

Reporting the following station and last goal in three dialects (English, Hindi and Marathi).

Driven showcase sheets demonstrating the following station and the last goal like the accompanying (however broken) board in a train.

Lamentably, not all trains have working declaration frameworks or show sheets like the one in the photo above. I get it does not merit halting tasks of a whole train in light of the fact that the showcase isn’t working.

After this, in the event that despite everything you figured out how to land at Mahalaxmi and not Churchgate, salute yourself. Check your stars that you don’t need to make sense of where is East or West.

You endure like a large number of other people who endure Mumbai ordinary.


One can contend that structuring the neighbourhood train framework for a superior client encounter, particularly for newcomers, isn’t the most critical issue. Nonetheless, a group of craftsmen as of late chose to beautify Borivali station with some spray painting. It would appear that this now:

Great job, however too terrible that can’t change the ghastly client encounter structure. I would have been more joyful in the event that they had put a few signs on the best way to achieve stages number seven and eight.

For an amateur, this can be comprehended by simply “conversing with individuals” however on the off chance that this was an application implied for standard use, which required requesting that customary clients comprehend it, it could never have normal clients in any case.


Disclaimers and notes

These were only some broad perceptions. There are explicit issues like there are no bearings at all how to get to stage eight and nine in Andheri, or the articulate disarray in intersections like Dadar. You simply need to know or bumble around to discover your direction.

There are numerous reasons that mess up the client encounter configuration, as sweat-soaked armpits of individual suburbanites, crappy promotions and mystifying deferrals. I simply needed to discuss the convenience part of this post.

I realize I’m contrasting nearby trains with the metro yet the neighbourhood trains are the greatest method of transport in Mumbai. They frantically require an overhaul. The Mumbai metro has its very own plan issues yet they are not as articulated yet in light of the fact that there’s only one dynamic line at this moment.

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