THE MONORAIL that currently sees poor footfall is expected to pull in more crowds after the Phase II construction, which will connect the more densely populated areas of the city. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), however, does not plan to increase the trains’ frequency for the first few months. Currently trains on the Phase I route run after 15- minute intervals.
Connecting Wadala Depot with Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk, the Phase II construction is set to be completed by mid-2017 and the MMRDA is hopeful that once the service starts, the combined average daily footfall of Phase I and II will be over 1 lakh passengers. Now, on an average 18,000 to 19,000 people take the Phase I monorail daily.
“For three to four months after the launch of the second phase, we will continue to run the trains in 15 minute-interval. Then we will increase the frequency to 9 to 12 minutes,” said Sanjay Khandare, the additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.
The monorail has 10 rakes of which four are operational and six need repairs. The MMRDA has plans to get more rakes for Phase II. “We plan to procure five more rakes five months after the whole line is operational,” Khandare added.
Of the total number of rakes, two would be kept on standby for emergencies. The monorail had been planned to connect the poorly-linked areas of the city with public transport but experts are skeptical of the project.
“The planned frequency is very less and defeats the whole purpose of public transport. They should ideally aim for a frequency of five minutes and during peak hours, the frequency should be three to four minutes. This shows that the MMRDA has very little confidence in their own project in which they have invested so much money. We were better off spending that money in other public transport projects,” said Rishi Aggarwal, a transport expert.