Monorail Phase II finally flagged off

Fares for the stretch are divided into 4 slabs; the minimum fare is Rs.10 and maximum Rs.40; commercial runs from today.

The much-delayed Phase II of the city’s 11.28-km distance monorail network was officially flagged off by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk on Sunday.

From today, Mumbaikars will able to cover the 19.54-km-long distance between Chembur and Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk in just 42 minutes (passengers were not allowed on inaugural run on Sunday.) The Monorail started commercial operations after partially opening Phase 1 to the public in 2014. From Monday, the Monorail will run from Chembur to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk, with a frequency of 20 to 22 minutes, between 6 am and 10 pm. The total run time for the 19.54-km-long stretch between Chembur and Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk will be 42 minutes.

Fares for the entire stretch are divided into four slabs. The minimum fare is Rs 10 and maximum Rs 40. For example, for travel between Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk and Mint Colony, commuters will need to pay fare of Rs 10. Similarly, Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk to Wadala Depot is priced at Rs 20; up to Fertilizer Township, Rs 30; and up to Chembur, Rs 40.

The inaugural run on Sunday was non-stop between Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk and Wadala Depot and covered the 11.28-km distance on Phase II in just 24 minutes. But the commercial run will take around 42 minutes to cover the entire stretch.

The first deadline for the entire project was 2011. The construction for Phase 1 began in February 2009, which became operational in 2014. Phase II was inaugurated on Sunday after a delayed of around eight years.

Addressing the gathering at Wadala, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Till date, the public used to use the Monorail as joyrides, but it’s now become a complete mode of transport. We are hoping that very soon, ridership will go up to 30 lakh per month; currently it varies between 4 and 4.5 lakh in a month.”

And Piyush Goyal said, “Now it’s included in the list of the three biggest mono route of Asia. I am sure it will change the traffic scenario of Mumbai.”

Commissioner of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), RA Rajeev, said “The Monorail project faced several challenges, most of which were from outside the authority.

“The operator, Scomi Engineering, ran into financial problems and decided to hand over the operations of the Monorail in December last year. For now, we will run Monorail services with four rakes, but in the coming two or three month, we will add three more rakes. Afterwards we are also planning to add 10 more rakes, but this will take more time,” he said.

Asked about the fire evacuation plan for Phase II, a senior MMRDA official said, “One Singapore-based company had shown interest for preparing a plan on fire evacuation, but it has quoted something that is not feasible for us. Currently, we have CCTV cameras and smoke-detectors near the Monorail tyres. Several other measures, too, have been taken into consideration for safe commercial operations.”

Dogged by delays : 

»Few infrastructure projects in Mumbai, and indeed the entire country, have seen as many troubles as the Monorail has. It missed more than a dozen deadlines, and Phase II was delayed for around eight years.

The construction for Phase 1 began in February 2009, but became operational only in 2014 after a delay of three years, missing around six deadlines.

The average ridership for Phase 1 was 18,000 — much below the expectations of MMRDA – which further fell to around 10,000.

After Chembur to Wadala operations were suspended for nearly 10 months following a fire in two coaches of a Monorail rake in November

2017, the government put the entire project on hold due to financial reasons.

The MMRDA also had a fallout with the operator — Larsen & Toubro-Scomi Engineering (LTSE) — after which it took over the operations.

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