The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is looking for a new contractor to operate and maintain the country’s only monorail corridor. It has invited bids to rope in a private firm to look after and run the monorail for the next 10 years.
The contract of the existing operator, Scomi Engineering, is set to expire in February. According to officials, Scomi was keen to extend its contract for another three years, but wanted to double the existing rate for each trip.
“We have invited bids for a new contractor but Scomi will continue to maintain the corridor for a couple of months. They (Scomi) said that they would have liked to extend the contract if we gave them their expected trip rate. They had quoted double the amount for each trip and so we could not agree to it,” said Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.
An official said on the condition of anonymity that Scomi wanted close to Rs7,000 per trip.
Currently, the MMRDA pays the operator Rs3,131 for every trip that the monorail makes. This includes maintenance of the entire fleet. “We had decided on that price for running 15 rakes of which only 10 are operational. The remaining rakes are yet to arrive,” said an official. According to sources, the rest of the rakes will be brought in by June .
Speaking about the operational cost, the official added, “We have been paying Rs3,131 to the operator for every trip from Chembur to Jacob Circle. But at present, only 8.93-km stretch from Chembur to Wadala is operational.”
In the first three years, the monorail saw low ridership and even some technical problems. “There have been several technical glitches that led to disruption of services during the first three years,” said a senior MMRDA official.
Also, of the 10 rakes only four are in service; the remaining rakes are not being used because of the technical glitches that they have faced. “While the second phase of the Monorail corridor is slated to be commissioned around mid-2017, the monorail needs to perform better and provide a glitch-free experience to the commuters,” the official.