Mumbai: Entire Metro network to start in 6 years

By 2026, commuters will be able to travel from one end of the city to the other within 60 minutes as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority plans to wrap up its entire Metro network of 337 km. Currently, MMRDA has undertaken 180 km of Metro work on nine different corridors.

“The daily ridership across 14 Metro corridors (225 stations) will touch 1.3 crore per day by 2026 when all routes are commissioned. You can reach anywhere in the Mumbai metropolitan region from any place within 60 minutes by Metro,” metropolitan commissioner R A Rajeev said during an interaction.

This could translate into the ‘super dense crush load’ congestion of 12-18 persons per sq m on the locals trains being reduced to the international norm of 6 persons per sq m. Now, there are 1.9 crore commuters daily, of whom 43% travel by local trains.

“At present, railways (WR, CR) has a combined ridership of 80 lakh, BEST 34 lakh, and autos-taxi less than 10 lakh riders. The carrying capacity of the completed Metro network will be more than the existing load of Mumbai suburban trains,” said Rajeev, who is being called ‘Modern Infra Man’ in some quarters as he is overseeing some of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country, like the over-the-sea trans-harbour link from Sewri to Nhava-Sheva, the Multi Modal Corridor, Integrated Ticketing System, and building of the Ambedkar Memorial.

The authorities hope the Metro network will reduce congestion on the roads too as more people will choose it over private vehicles and aggregator cabs. Now, the share of population using public transport has dropped to 65.3%, he pointed out.

Rajeev lamented that some of the arterial roads were choked mainly due to double parking and encroachment by shops, stalls or hawkers. He pointed out that two lanes on LBS Marg remained unused due to encroachment and illegal parking and only one lane was operational in a single direction. Batting for dedicated bus lanes, he added: “There should be BRTS or dedicated bus corridors which should allow smooth passage to buses, especially those ferrying office commuters daily.”

Returning to his favourite topic, Rajeev said Metro rakes will run with six coaches, each capable of carrying 380 passengers. Every station will have a smart urban design, with 100 m area underneath left for share taxis, buses, electric cars/buses along with charging stations. The stations will be designed to enable proper pedestrian movement and quick dispersal of people. “Slums in our influence area will be removed,” he added. Rajeev pointed out that MMRDA has changed from a planning body to an implementing body.

He is confident ridership in Mumbai’s Metro is guaranteed. “Ghatkopar-Versova is one of the busiest Metro lines in India. In all, 4.5 lakh persons use it daily. This year, we plan to inaugurate Metro lines 2A and 7. All Metro routes are viable and not a single route is expected to run in losses,” he said.

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