The Mumbai metro will finally start commercial operations from Sunday after a delay of three years, providing much-needed relief to the commuters in the bustling metropolis where the overburdened suburban railways ferries seven lakh people every day.
Services on the 11.4 KM Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar stretch, Phase 1 of the project, will commence on Sunday and trains will be available every four minutes, Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) Chief Executive Abhay Mishra said on Saturday.
The announcement by the operator came after local BJP MP Krit Somaiya on Friday threatened to start metro services by "force".
For the city where the sight of harried passengers clinging precariously to the doors and windows of overcrowded coaches of suburban trains is common, the metro will give a new travel experience.
The company said it will operate 200-250 services a day, carrying around 11 lakh passengers. Every coach can carry 375 passengers, while the entire train can transport 1,500 commuters.
The metro service comes four months after the city got the country's first monorail between suburban Chembur and Wadala on February 1 this year.
MMOPL has fixed a minimum fare of Rs 10 and a maximum Rs 40 for a one way journey, Mishra said.
Maharashtra Government had earlier notified a fare band of Rs 9-13 but MMOPL demanded high fares, citing cost escalation in the three-phase project, work on which began nearly eight years ago.
MMOPL is a joint venture company formed by Reliance Infrastructure, Veolia Transport and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.
The Railway Board had on Thursday given its green signal for commencement of the services.