MUMBAI: The entire 19.5 kilometres of the monorail route that was made fully operational for the public only in March, 2019, has brought some good news for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which mainly received flak for not being able to run the services smoothly.
Despite repeatedly reporting technical glitches in the available rakes, the public transport has managed to fetch nearly Rs 7.18 crore of revenue and marked a ridership of 48.84 lakh in 2019. The ridership has tripled since 2018, according to the available data with the MMRDA, as the revenue earning was Rs 1 crore and the ridership was about 14.51 lakh in 2018. Also, in 2018, only half of the monorail route between Chembur and Wadala depot was operational for the public. According to MMRDA officials, after taking over the operations and maintenance work from the Malaysian-based company SCOMI Engineering in December 2018, it could save on money.
Interestingly, the revenue earning and ridership in March 2019, when the entire phase of the monorail was opened for the public attracted an increase in the number of riders fetching the revenue of Rs 96 lakh in this month alone. Currently, on five rakes, the services are operational. Meanwhile, Sudhir Badami, a transportation analyst has rubbished the MMRDA 's data over an increase in revenue and ridership. Badami stated.
"The monorail was built by spending Rs 3,000 crore, which is a perfect example of a wastage of public money by the government. When MMRDA was selling the monorail idea, they claimed that it will carry 25,000 commuters per hour. However, since the services are running at a gap of 22 minutes, the monorail is unable to carry even 1,800 commuters in one hour. This mode of public transport has turned flop and serving no purpose to the citizens.
"Asserting further he stated that the execution of the monorail project was a conscious decision of the authority despite the several suggestions made by citizens and experts at the planning stage.
MMRDA floats new tender for procurement of 10 rakes: After spending a year on the bidding process for the procurement of additional ten rakes, following which the entire route was made operational in March 2019, MMRDA has scrapped the previous bid and floated a new tender for it. Because of this, commuters using this public transport will have to wait for more time to see any improvement in the trip frequency of the monorail. The MMRDA, by introducing more rakes, was planning to reduce the trip frequency between two monorails to 15 minutes from the current 22 minutes.