The state government has said it is spend Rs 2.28 lakh crore over the next two decades to create 2,564 kilometres of alternative transport systems in Mumbai.
The plan envisages creating 450 kilometres of metro lines, 135 kilometres of a monorail network, eight-lane roads, and hovercrafts and catamarans that will make use of the city’s 62- kilometre coastline.
“There is a strong need to look at alternatives that reduce the burden and dependence on the existing network and make it possible for a commuter to move between the farthest points of the city in an hour,” said Ratnakar Gaikwad, metropolitan commissioner. Mumbai’s public transport system, consisting of a 319-kilometre suburban train system and a 3,500-bus network may be one of the most efficient in the world. But it is highly overloaded.
A Mumbai train during peak hour carries 5,000 people, thrice its designed capacity, which means that eight people stand on one square metre of space for journeys that can last up to an hour. “Travel deducts at least four hours from their working day, which means less time to socialise and much less time for families,” said a UNDP report published last year.
New Mumbai will get the most money, with nearly 19.8 per cent of the total money allocated to it. The island city follows, with 15.9 per cent, and then the western suburbs, with 12.9 per cent.
But some experts struck a note of caution. “The government is pouring money in to big-ticket high-cost projects, while neglecting more economical alternatives such as a bus rapid transit system,” said Ashok Datar, a transport expert.