A rush hour is generally that part of the day when traffic congestion on roads and crowding in public transport is at its highest. The rush hour in Tokyo, Japan has about 3000 passengers packed in a 10-car train and about 100,000 passengers generally transported in an hour, which makes it one of the most congested railway networks in the world.
It is a slice of Tokyo's rush hour that is played out in Thane for a few hours every morning and evening. A row of young railway policemen and women queue up along the narrow foot overbridge that lies at the Kalyan-end of Thane station, virtually splitting up the bridge into two.
As soon as a train chugs in (in the morning, trains from Kalyan and in the evenings, those arriving from CST), the policemen and women brace themselves for their task: Pushing the crowds to the exit. It made me wonder whether if these policemen knew that their task has been derived from the famed "pushers" of Tokyo's overcrowded underground railway stations.
Of course, I do realize that even if someone in the crowd finds it dehumanizing to be thus "channelized" towards the exit; frankly, there is no time or space to protest. Most in the milling crowds rushing for a bus or a rickshaw home, it would appear, have been immunized by years of being jostled around (or even felt up) in the narrow foot overbridge.
It is time that the oldest railway station in the country caught up with the changing times--and broadened its bridges.