After covering the monorail project for six years since the contract was awarded in 2008, I made my way to the station on Sunday morning around 7.30 am and was amazed at the number of people young and old, male and female who had queued up to buy tickets to travel by the monorail. The officials ensured that the crowds were well managed and things were going off smoothly.
I could hear small gasps of surprise and squeals of delight, as soon as the train pulled into the station. The crowds were eager to hop on and as soon as the doors of the monorail opened, the passengers eager and excited pushed their way in to grab a seat, reminding me of the way people climb into our local trains.
Though thousands of Mumbaikars travelled on the country’s first monorail, no incident of public misbehaviour was reported from any of the stations. Pics/Bipin Kokate
When the train jerked and left Wadala, people yelled in unison to celebrate the first journey. While in the compartment, I asked people how they liked the journey so far and most of them were pleased with the journey, but some added, ‘Jhatka lagta hai.’
A woman obliges a monorail commuter shooting a video from inside the train
The monorail also gave people a beautiful view of the city, unlike that afforded by any other mode of transport. The view of towering skyscrapers, construction at infrastructure projects and the mangroves helped make the journey enjoyable.
However, there were two things during my journey that marred the overall experience. Thrilled that they were the first to travel by the train, many passengers were removing the flowers that had been put up and throwing them on the floor. Authorities will have to make sure that such littering is avoided in the future. Dustbins should also be placed to discourage littering.
Additionally, what I noticed was that as this was the first time passengers were travelling by the monorail, they were entering and alighting the trains when the doors were closing. Authorities will have to make sure that they inform commuters on how to climb aboard and alight so as to reduce the chances of accidents and delays in travel.
Authorities should also provide seating arrangements to people at platforms and water at the stations. Overall, the experience of travelling on the monorail was beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and for me, it felt like a personal victory.