Mumbai Monorail update

The second phase of the 10 kilometre monorail project between Wadala and Jacob Circle is likely to be thrown open in May with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority having conducted its first full-fledged trial run on Thursday.

While the nine kilometre monorail line between Wadala and Chembur sees around 19,000 footfalls each day (the number stood at 14,000 earlier), MMRDA is incurring losses to the tune of Rs.10 lakh per day. MMRDA hopes phase two of the project will lead to a turn of fortune for the monorail project as it expects the number of passengers to rise to 1 lakh per day.

This is based on the logic that the stations along the new line are better connected to other modes of transport, including the metro and local trains. For example, commuters headed to Nariman Point can get down at the proposed Mahalaxmi station to take a local to Churchgate, or board the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro (when completed); those headed to Fort, CST can get down at Curry Road station and take a local plying on the Central line. The MMRDA, which is currently charging fares between Rs.5 and Rs.11, is also considering revising the fares to reduce losses. The Rs.3,000-crore project has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since inception. The original deadline for first phase of project, for which the foundation stone was laid in 2009, was marred by issues related to land acquisition, environmental clearance, change in alignment, among others, and was completed only in 2011.

The project also received bad press due to frequent break downs and MMRDA's differences with contractors L&T and its Malaysian partner Scomi Engineering.

The project was finally thrown open to the public in February 2014 ahead of elections by the Congress-led government.Though it created an initial euphoria, it failed to generate continued interest as the project lacked in last mile connectivity.Even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) rapped MMRDA for poor quality of construction of project and several other irregularities.

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