Indicating that the prestigious Mumbai monorail project is on schedule, a top official said here Wednesday that six trains will ply in the first phase from later this month.
Six trains, each with four air-conditioned cars, will be deployed on the nine-km-long Chembur-Wadala sector in eastern Mumbai, which is around 60 percent complete, said Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Joint Commissioner Ashwini Bhide.
"The civil work and most of the system including communications and signalling for phase one will be in place by December," Bhide said here Wednesday evening.
The Rs.3,000-crore (around $648 million) monorail project is expected to ease the transportation woes of Mumbai's nearly eight million suburban train commuters.
It would benefit around 1.8 million commuters and this figure is expected to increase as the network expands, Bhide pointed out.
Besides the Chembur-Wadala link, the 11-km-long Wadala-Jacob Circle (Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk) sector is expected to be ready by end-2011.
The average speed of the monorail trains will be 30 kmph with a frequency of four minutes and a fare of Rs.8-20 for a one-way trip. It will run for 19 hours daily.
According to Bhide, the monorail will be attractive even for private vehicle owners to use the comfortable form of public transport.
Monorail systems around the world are considered ideal for urban congested corridors, due to its low footprint at the ground level.
It runs on rubber wheels, reducing noise pollution and serves as a feeder mode of transport to supplement the other mass transport system and essentially cover routes that are difficult to expand or widen.
The Mumbai monorail system, currently under construction, since February 2009, will be the first monorail in India.
On Jan 26, the monorail shot into the limelight when Chief Minister Ashok Chavan inaugurated a test run at Wadala, raising hopes of Mumbaikars, that the project will soon be implemented.
Taking a cue from Mumbai, the Pune Municipal Corporation also followed suit and announced a 52-km-long monorail project to ease traffic in the state's IT and education capital.