It would appear that the government is starting to commit to the seamless integration of public transport and to that end, Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said that they are working with the MMRDA to implement within six months, a way to integrate the Metro rail with the suburban local system. This will reportedly happen when the Andheri-Dahisar Metro is complete, by which time they will also merge the system with the existing Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro, suburban railways and even BEST.
"We are working towards merging all the transport system in Mumbai," said Prabhu, but when asked why the existing Western and Central Railways along with Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro rail and Chembur-Wadala Monorail aren't already merged considering they all employ the smart card system, he said: "The MMRDA is working on how well can the integration be carried out. After all, a single card for all modes of transport is needed for Mumbai, similar to other international cities".
The integrated transportation system (ITS) will basically ensure that people, by swiping a single card, can travel throughout the city. At present, each public transport organisation operates its own mechanism. For instance, around 16-18 per cent of the 75 lakh suburban commuters use the Automatic Ticket Vending Machine (ATVMs), while BEST and Metro users all carry their own separate cards. "We are in the process of appointing a consultant to upgrade the transportation study, which will take six months to complete," said a MMRDA official.
Sources said that in the first phase, the integrated system will cater to more than 1.5 crore people. In the second phase, when the taxis and newer Metro rail routes are added, this number will go up.