Commercial operations for Metro 3’s Phase I stretch (Aarey-BKC) is scheduled to commence in December next year. Before that, the Aarey car shed will be ready in April 2023. The entire corridor (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) is expected to open by June 2024. “We are going to begin Phase I operations with nine rakes, for which facilities will be made ready by April 2023. In July, the Aarey depot will be able to handle operations for the entire corridor, even though some other works may continue,” said Ashwini Bhide, managing director, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited. The corporation claims that 29% of work on the depot stands completed, and the remaining work is expected to go smoothly now that political hurdles have been cleared.
Bhide said that for Phase I, almost all facilities will be ready except the operational control centre at the Aarey car shed site. She said this will not be a hurdle as there is a provision to have a back-up control centre at the BKC Metro station. Expressing confidence that almost all project-related work for the Phase I segment of the corridor will be completed by June 2023, she said, “We will invite the commissioner of metro rail safety three months before December 2023, which is the deadline for commissioning commercial services. ” Defending the increase in cost for the Metro 3 project from Rs 23,136 crore to Rs 33,405 crore, MMRCL’s MD said, “The original estimate was based on the project cost for Phase III of Delhi Metro, with 10% escalation accounted for Mumbai. The cost has increased because of various reasons, including soil strata being different in Delhi and Mumbai. Also Delhi has six-car rakes, while Mumbai will have eight-car rakes. ”
She said 30 hectares of land was allotted to MMRCL at Aarey in 2014, of which 25 hectares will be used for the depot and the balance left untouched. Even though 31 rakes have been planned for this project, the depot will have a capacity to handle 42 rakes. It is also projected that there will be a need to accommodate 55 rakes in the future, but work towards this increase will be done in phases till 2050.
Activists had alleged that the Aarey car shed site would need to be expanded in the future to accommodate more coaches