A new traffic study is now forcing Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) to take mitigating measures to ensure that commuters do not travel like sardines packed in a tin in Mumbai's first metro train from Versova to Ghatkopar.
A new traffic survey commissioned by MMOPL and undertaken by a Hong Kong based consultant, MVA Systra, shows that traffic projections made for the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor were off the mark. The number of people travelling on the route is more than what was earlier expected.
In an earlier survey conducted by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation for Mumbai, it had been projected that in 2031 the number of daily passengers would be 8.82 lakh but the new survey has shown that it could be as high as 15 lakh.
“Metro will trigger steep increase in ridership in the first few years as realignment of traffic will happen. This will ensure that all the trains in operation will get occupied immediately,” MVA Systra said in its report.
As per the earlier estimates, the metro would have a ridership of 6.8 lakh commuters in 2015. The new report says that it could be over 7.2 lakh. In 2021 the number is expected to be 10 lakh as against the earlier estimate of 6.8 lakh.
An alarmed MMOPL has now written to the nodal agency Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) asking for permission to buy 44 more coaches (rakes) to ensure that the trains do not get crowded.
A proposal to buy the additional rakes was also put up during the MMOPL board meeting held last week. Under the original plan, MMOPL was to purchase 64 coaches worth over Rs 700 crore from a Chinese company, CSR Nanjing. It had plans to deploy 16 trains of four coaches each into service when services would start.
It has now requested MMRDA to allow it to purchase 44 more coaches. The total cost of the coaches is around USD 72 mn and they can be either deployed as 11 new trains or used to augment the four-coach trains into six-coach trains.
MMOPL was planning to purchase these rakes earlier as well. However, the new survey results have now forced the agency to ensure that the orders are placed well in advance so that the metro does not get crowded.