"Travel detracts at least four hours from their (Mumbaiites) workday lives, which means less time to socialise and much less time for their families. It is the salient travel pattern of Mumbai," says a recent United Nations Development Programme report. See Graphics
All this in the country’s economic hub, in a city that has Shanghai dreams but is hobbling along on a saturated transport system.
The lack of a commuter-friendly public transport system has fuelled an unmanageable rise in the addition of private vehicles into the city’s largely static road infrastructure — on average, Mumbai added nearly 1.03 lakh new vehicles to its roads every year in the last five years.
In 1951, 49,000 vehicles ran on the city’s roads. In 2009, the number was at 17.15 lakh. “The need of the hour is sustainable mass transport consisting of fuel-efficient alternatives,” said transport consultant Bina Balkrishnan.
Among the shiny, big-ticket solutions the government has promised are air-conditioned coaches running 18 feet off the ground, and hovercraft and catamarans run along the city’s 62-km coastline. Here’s a snapshot of the city’s four major transport projects and were they stand.