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As the Mumbai Metro One nears four years of operation, it has witnessed a 13 per cent growth in ridership in the year 2017-18. During this period, there has also been a marked increase in ridership on shorter routes around Andheri station. According to the R-Infra promoted Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL), commuter traffic on routes between Andheri and Western Express Highway is up by 48 per cent, followed by the route between Andheri and Azad Nagar, where it has increased by 45 per cent. Incidentally, experts say, the increase in ridership on the two routes coincides with the increase in traffic congestion on both sides due to the construction of Metro corridors on Western Express Highway and Link Road.
“There has been an increase in traffic congestion on both roads and people now prefer to take the Metro than spend hours on the road. These distances can be covered on foot as well but there are no footpaths and the walking experience is horrible. On SV Road, work on a stormwater drain has been going on for the last eight months, pushing traffic onto one carriageway at the JP Road junction,” said Rishi Aggarwal, a transport expert.
According to data provided by MMOPL, ridership on shorter routes has also witnessed growth in the last year. The top four routes which have witnessed the maximum increase in ridership are within two stations from Andheri. “The last-mile connectivity to Andheri suburban railway station has become a nightmare due to the traffic congestions. The average speed on the road there has become very slow. People would earlier travel by buses or autorickshaws to the stations but now they prefer to walk to the Metro station and reach the Andheri suburban railway station faster,” added Aggarwal.
The data also shows that Andheri and Ghatkopar metro stations continue to see the maximum footfalls. During 2016-17 Andheri and Ghatkopar footfalls for a typical weekday was recorded at around 80,000 and 96,000 respectively. In 2018 Ghatkopar touched 105745 while Andheri saw a slight increase to 87,116.
The ridership on the Andheri-Saki Naka route was recorded at 10,60,533, overtaking the ridership of the Andheri-Ghatkopar route by 11,393 at 10,49,140, which until last year was the highest. The Andheri-Saki Naka route has witnessed a 20 per cent increase in ridership. Mumbai Metro One operates 378 to 382 daily trips on weekdays. During 2017-18 it operated 125,894 train trips with a Peak Hour Peak Direction Traffic (PHPDT) of approximately 29 thousand commuters.