As the country’s first monorail corridor completed three years on Wednesday, a hike in the fare is expected. Mumbaikars could have to shell out more for a ride on the monorail once the second phase of the project is opened to public in May.
However, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials have not sent a formal proposal to the state government yet as the BMC elections are due this month. In the meantime, the state authorities first want the 10.24-km Phase-II of the project to be commissioned.
“There is no immediate need to hike the fare. However, we will seek its revision once the Wadala-Jacob Circle arm is operational,” said an official. The official added that the state may hike the minimum fare to Rs8, which was originally proposed, before Prithiviraj Chavan-led government reduced it to Rs5. As per the original fare structure, the minimum was pegged at Rs8 and the maximum at Rs20. “Or may even the increase the minimum and maximum fare slab. The state government has to take a call on it,” he added.
The official added that the MMRDA has incurred losses in operating the corridor between Chembur and Wadala. The 8.9-km corridor, which was commissioned on February 1, 2014, has an average ridership between 18,000 and 19,000 daily. According to MMRDA, they are incurring an estimated loss of Rs8-9 lakh per day on operation and maintenance of the corridor.
Currently, MMRDA pays Rs 3,131 to Scomi Engineering — the O&M agency — per trip. However, with a new O&M operator that would be appointed by March, the ‘per trip’ cost is likely to double. MMRDA estimates that the ridership would jump to 1-1.25 lakh with Phase-II. “Public transport is a social obligation, but MMRDA needs to arrest its losses,” the official said.