Mumbaikars who were eager to travel in the VAG Metro line for the first time, after it was thrown open to the public yesterday, boarded with the belief that that they would not have to face the kind of problems that plagued the Wadala-Chembur Monorail Phase-I after its inauguration.
However, those who expected the government or the authorities to have learnt from their past mistakes, were sadly proven wrong. The Metro line witnessed technical glitches similar to those which passengers had to endure after the inauguration of the Monorail. In some cases, the glitches were exactly the same, and this makes one wonder whether the authorities are operating in some kind of silos.
At the very least, one would have expected the one-rupee coin problem to be addressed. The Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) machines should have been upgraded to accommodate the new small R1 coins, but it was observed that the TVMs were not accepting the small R1 coins. It was a feeling of déjà vu for those passengers who had experienced similar difficulties at the Monorail station.
Moreover, just as overcrowding caused problems during the Monorail operations, here, too, some of the Metro trains had to stop because of the increased congestion. It looks like the authorities are not serious about the safety of the passengers also. The Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) guards posted at Metro stations are equipped with outdated .410 musket guns, which are of practically no use during emergency situations.
When it comes to ticket prices, Mumbaikars may be happy with the promotional single-journey ticket priced at R10 per trip for a period of one month. But, passengers are expecting the government to maintain ticket fares between Rs 9 and Rs 13, and not between Rs 10 and Rs 40, as it has been planned. The Metro should be a source of pride, not embarrassment. So, the sooner these problems are tackled, the better it is for all concerned.