With the phase II of monorail on its final stages of trial runs, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has pinned its hope on it to increase footfall. According to an internal survey conducted by the planning body last December, the footfall is expected to increase manifold after the train extends operation from Wadala to Jacob Circle. Currently, the monorail registers a footfall of around 18,000 per day on the 8.9-km Chembur-Wadala line.
“We are expecting the footfall to be around 1,20,000 per day once we begin operations on Phase II,” said Sanjay Khandare, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. Phase II has interchanges with the Harbour Line and the Central Line at Wadala and Lower Parel stations, respectively.
The stations are expected to bring in more commuters to the 20-km corridor.
The civil work for the project has been completed and only construction of a few signal towers is remaining.
The Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) will begin examining the monorail by July-end and is expected to complete the certification in a month or two.
“The integrated testing, that is, trial runs with signalling and communication, will be completed in a month and then it will be handed over to the CRS. After the inspection if everything is approved, he will give us certification. So we are anticipating that we can begin operations by September,” said a senior MMRDA official.
The MMRDA has asked the contractor, a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Malaysia’s Scomi Engineering, to begin the manufacture of five more rakes that will be needed for the smooth running of trains. “Last week, we asked them to start the process of manufacturing the new rakes. We should get them in the next eight to nine months. Meanwhile, we will begin operations with the existing ten rakes,” added Khandare.
Currently, the monorail is incurring losses of around Rs 10 lakh everyday. To offset the losses the MMRDA is considering commercialising the depot at Wadala and the 17 monorail stations between Chembur and Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk. It is also considering increasing fares to bring it at par with other transport facilities in the city.
Currently, the fare ranges from Rs 5 to Rs 11. “Once Phase II service starts, we will increase the fares on similar lines of the other transport systems,” said an MMRDA official.