'Until Phase II starts, monorail will just be a tourist attraction'
Transport experts feel that after the initial interest wanes, the first phase of the monorail will not be used much as it does not pass through populated areas
It has been open to the public for all of two days but the newly launched phase I of the monorail and the MMRDA authorities are already attracting a fair share of criticism. Transport experts have come out and questioned the need of the monorail running between Wadala and Chembur saying the new mode of transport should have been planned better.
Many commuters in the first two days of operation seemed to be on a joyride. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
“The project is a waste of public money, as phase I of the monorail does not run through a heavily populated residential area neither is it an industrial area. Rather than having a monorail connecting Wadala to Chembur, the authorities should have constructed it from Bandra-Kurla Complex to Sion or Kurla,” said transport expert Jitendra Gupta.
Gupta added, “This monorail will be a tourist destination and nothing else. Across the world, transportation systems like the monorail are used to connect cities to the airports. The authorities should have planned it in an area where it was required.”
Echoing similar sentiments, Sudhir Badami, another transport expert, added, “The monorail will not be used by many till phase 2 is complete. Only once the entire line is complete and operational, will people use it. However, the monorail will not garner the response that the MMRDA authorities are expecting. Rather than spending money on such costly projects, the officials should plan projects like Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS) which is less expensive and will cater to more commuters.”
An MMRDA official requesting anonymity said, “We are happy with the response we are getting from the commuters and we think that the line will continue to get a similar response. At present, the train is only operational from morning to afternoon but when it will run in two shifts we will earn more revenue.”
When MiD DAY approached a few commuters, some of them opined that the passengers were more interested in the unique novelty and they don’t believe that the interest will sustain in the future. Paresh Ingale said, “There is no doubt that the trains are beautiful.
But, at the same time I can’t help wonder why the train travels through these isolated areas. The line would have been more helpful and would have received tremendous response had it been planned between the International Airport and the Western Express Highway (WEH)."
Rs 1,100 crore
Amount of money spent on construction of Phase I of the monorail
Monday’s report card
Number of commuters
Number of trips
Magnetic tokens sold
Smart cards sold
Printout tickets sold
Rs 2.5 lakh
Based on day one’s collection, the amount the MMRDA will earn in a month’s time is over R68 lakh and in a year, it will earn an approximate of Rs 8 crore