UPS Madan, director, Mumbai Transformation Support Unit (MTSU), told Hindustan Times that once the new modes of transport, such as the Metro and the Monorail, are ready, the city's public transport scenario will be modern and effective.
Mumbai has always depended on trains and buses. Will the new modes help?
Definitely. New modes, such as the Metro and Monorail, will improve overall connectivity in the city and give more options for feeder routes. The existing Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) bus network and the taxi fleet are also being upgraded and modernised to make public transport more attractive. Mumbai will have a changed public transport scenario once all these projects are up and running.
Will the Metro and Monorail ease pressure on trains?
Yes, they will ease the pressure on the city's suburban rail network where their lines run parallel to the tracks. They will have their own stations. They will also ease the pressure on road traffic and give commuters an option of faster east-west connectivity.
We are getting more trains, but the suburban section has also been lengthened by 60 km to Dahanu. Won't it add to the city's transport woes?
No. Think of it this way, the new trains would mean a higher service frequency. It will also mean higher capacity as we are replacing the entire fleet of trains by 12-car trains and, in some cases, by 15-car trains — as Western Railway did. It will mean better and faster train connectivity to more people from far-flung suburbs.
What about water transport? For an island city like Mumbai, it could have been the easiest and fastest option.
Yes. It would have been so, but it can never be an all-season transport mode. It will function for nine months and will be off the scene for three months of the monsoon. Water travel would have its limitations.
Nevertheless, what went wrong? Why did the government fail on this front?
We did invite bids for an inland water transport system, but just one bidder turned up for the project. We are reviewing the situation, but will not give up on it. We will call for another round of bids and relaunch the project. But, I promise, we will make it happen.