After missing 15 deadlines, the mandatory safety trials on the 10.6km second phase of monorail – Wadala to Jacob Circle – will start in July.
The MMRDA will have to cover 3,000km through safety trials, after which the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) will issue a safety certificate, a must to start operations. The Wadala-Jacob Circle stretch is likely to be thrown open to public from October.
“We can commence the operations, once we are done with the safety trials,” said Sanjay Khandare, additional metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA.
However, even if the operations start by October, the MMRDA may not be able to reach the desired frequency for the corridor owing to shortage of rakes or trains. The agency has only 10 trains, five fewer than the required number. Consequently, it can run services every 15 minutes, against the desired frequency of 10 minutes.
The MMRDA will get five more rakes, which are currently undergoing repairs, only by 2018. “Operating a 19.5km line with 10 trains doesn’t make sense,” said an official.
The first phase of monorail, Chembur-Wadala corridor, commenced in February 2014.
The phase-II is a crucial section of the corridor, as it would go through the densely populated areas of the city. With this, the ridership is expected to go up considerably, making the project financially viable. According to MMRDA, the authority is incurring an estimated loss of Rs8 lakh to Rs9 lakh a day on operation and maintenance of the corridor.