In a city struggling with expansion and authorities working overtime to improve the transport system, the metro rail network may change the face of Mumbai, say experts.
The state government’s plan to build 118-km metro network will not only take private vehicles off city roads and reduce traffic snarls, but also give a boost to public transport.
Experts say that considering the city’s population, the authorities need to focus more on metro and other public transport projects instead of big-ticket road infrastructure.
For instance, London, New York and Delhi, which are densely populated, have wide network of metro lines, making commute comfortable and faster. London has one of the best networks of underground metro lines
The state government now plans to develop four metro lines — Mankhurd-BKC, DN Nagar-Dahisar, Andheri East-Dahisar East and JVLR-Kanjurmarg. It has already taken up Metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) and Metro 4 (Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavli). Estimated to cost Rs64,000 crore, the government aims to make all these lines operational by 2020.
“It [metro project] is better than building roads, which will help just motorists. It makes no sense spending crores of rupees on coastal roads,” said Ashok Datar from Mumbai Environmental Social Network.
Transport expert AV Shenoy agreed, saying the new metro lines will provide better connectivity. “It will be a greener and cheaper travel option. If the government succeeds in developing a metro network across the city, commuting will be seamless and comfortable,” he said.
Datar, however, said the government was being overambitious. “All these lines can’t be operational by 2020. The government needs to take various factors into account before announcing the dates,” he said. Expert Jagdeep Desai suggested making the lines underground.