Two new metro lines to start in city suburbs on April 2

Published on Mar 30, 2022 11:00 PM IST
On March 25, the MMRDA received the safety certification from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to operate metros (at a maximum speed of 70 kmph) on two corridors partially
The full span of the Metro-2A corridor is from Dahisar (east) to DN Nagar (Andheri west) on the Link Road, while Metro-7 is from Dahisar (east) to Andheri (east) on the Western Express Highway — both are expected to be fully ready in October (Vijay Bate)
The full span of the Metro-2A corridor is from Dahisar (east) to DN Nagar (Andheri west) on the Link Road, while Metro-7 is from Dahisar (east) to Andheri (east) on the Western Express Highway — both are expected to be fully ready in October (Vijay Bate)
ByMehul R Thakkar

Mumbai Eight years after the city got its first Metro corridor, two more metro lines will become operational on April 2, as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will partially open two Metro corridors. The two lines will begin full operations starting Sunday (April 3) from 5 am to 11 pm, daily.

On March 25, the MMRDA received the safety certification from the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) to operate metros (at a maximum speed of 70 kmph) on two corridors partially: Metro-2A will begin operations between Dahisar and Dahanukarwadi, while Metro-7 will begin operations between Dahisar and Aarey Colony.

The full span of the Metro-2A corridor is from Dahisar (east) to DN Nagar (Andheri west) on the Link Road, while Metro-7 is from Dahisar (east) to Andheri (east) on the Western Express Highway — both are expected to be fully ready in October and this will increase Mumbai’s Metro network to nearly 50km from its current 12km.

“We are aiming to make the two Metro corridors operational partially on April 02, 2022 which is Gudi Padwa. The Metro corridor will become operational for over 18 hours daily between 5 am to 11 pm. Subsequently, trial runs for the second phase of Metro-7 and Metro-2A will kick in, over the next three to four weeks,” a senior MMRDA official said.

The MMRDA plans to maintain a frequency of 10 minutes between the metro trains — expected to have six coaches each — and the fare will be between 10 to 40.

Cumulatively, both corridors will help ferry more than 1 million passengers daily, which will have an impact on reducing the burden on the suburban railway network, BEST buses as well as decongest the city roads.

“By October 2022, Metro-2A between Dahisar and DN Nagar and Metro-7, between Dahisar and Andheri (east), will get fully operational. Next in the pipeline will be Metro-2B between Andheri and Mandale and Metro-6 between Lokhandwala and Vikhroli. They are expected to become operational by 2023 and 2024, and this will be followed by Wadala-Thane Metro-4,” MMRDA commissioner SVR Srinivas said.

The Maharashtra government aims to create a 337.10-km Metro network at a cost of 1,40,814 crore. However, this network of Metro corridors will become operational in phases by 2030.

At present, Mumbai has 12km of metro lines, and going by MMRDA’s plans, Mumbai will have an additional network of around 75 km by 2023-end. By 2025-end, it is expected to have a network of 200 km, which will cover the north to south axis, between Bhayander and Colaba, as well as western and eastern suburbs, even going further inside in Thane district.

Construction on the Metro-1 corridor, between Versova and Ghatkopar, started in 2008, and the 12-km line was thrown open to commuters in June 2014. Before the pandemic hit the Metro corridor carried almost 500,000 commuters daily making around 400 trips a day. At present, it carries over 200,000 commuters and makes around 284 trips daily.

In December 2015, the MMRDA floated bids for construction of two Metro lines —Metro-2A and Metro-7 — and construction started in October 2016. The lines were expected to be ready by 2019, however, delays in civil works by one of the contractors, and later the pandemic, pushed the deadline.

Once completed, all the three Metro lines — 1, 2A and 7 — will form a triangle and connect densely populated areas of the western suburbs.

When operations began, the weekday daily ridership was around 200,000 (with a lot of joyrides). This grew to 500,000 just before the pandemic hit in March 2020. Now, the ridership is back to 200,000 on weekdays.

The Mumbai Metro-1 came up along some of the densest neighbourhoods, and it was expected to decongest the Andheri Ghatkopar Link Road.

Dhaval Shah, founder of Andheri-Lokhandwala and Oshiwara Citizens Association said, “The traffic on roads around Metro-1 has not decreased as with every passing year vehicle population has only increased. If the Metro would not have been there, the situation would have been very chaotic. This Metro-1 is the only way to go from the west to the eastern part of the city comfortably in less than half hours. However, other lines should have followed in the city but sadly that has not happened.”

Urban development researcher Amruta Ponkshe said that the line led to a spurt in real estate development. “Metro-1 has definitely changed a lot of things in the city. It has got so much growth and development of real estate along Versova-Ghatkopar corridor. Otherwise, imagine the 0.5 million people travelling on Metro pre- pandemic got down on roads? Secondly, the upcoming two Metro corridors are strategically placed on Link Road and Western Express Highway. On the link road it will cater commercial and residential areas along with those travelling for outings to half a dozen malls. On the highway, the Metro line will be useful for North to south connectivity as Metro-7 meets Metro-3 at the airport from where one can go further towards central and south Mumbai.”

A spokesperson for Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), the operator of Metro-1 said, “Metro-1 achieved a significant milestone of serving 700 million commuters on 28th Feb 2022. The impressive growth in the number of commuters is attributed to persistent efforts to provide safety, security, cleanliness, reliability and comfort to commuters.”

The spokesperson said that the construction of a foot over bridge between the railway station and the metro station in Andheri in 2017 resulted in a 20% increase in ridership.

“Last mile connectivity was established through regularly engaging with BEST, auto drivers, Ola/Uber and Mybyk (Bi-cycle rent services) and this was followed by efficient and quick customer relationship management system to resolve commuter queries via social media, in-person etc,” they said.

The Mumbai Metro-1 carried more than 500,000 commuters between January 08 to January 11 in 2018 during BEST bus strike. The strike over salaries and other administrative issues began on January 8 and ended on January 15.

According to the MMRDA officials, vehicular numbers may not decline necessarily with the upcoming Metro corridors, but the rate at which traffic is increasing may be brought under control.

An internal study conducted by the MMRDA in 2016 revealed that a local train commuter barely had one square feet (sq ft) of space while travelling in peak hours.

The study is one of many detailed project reports being prepared for the various Metro projects being constructed in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The MMRDA expects that once the metro network in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is ready, congestion in local trains will come down by 35-40% and 10 sq ft space will be available for seven commuters compared to the current 12 at peak hours.

RA Rajeev, Director of Urban World Consulting and Former Metropolitan Commissioner of MMRDA opined that Metro-2A and Metro-7 is the start towards decongesting the city. Rajeev said, “I have personally worked very hard on making Metro-2A and Metro-7 a reality, and it was on the day of my retirement that trial runs for both the routes commenced. The starting of operations for both the lines will be a boon for the city and especially the western suburbs.”

“Currently, the local trains in the city are overcrowded, and it is true that they will be decongested, but this will certainly take time. It is not something like Metro lines will get operational tomorrow and there will be relief, but these projects will give us benefit in the long run,” he said.

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