‘Mumbai’s monorail ridership will definitely increase’
UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner, says MMRDA has learnt a lot from the long-delayed monorail project.mumbai Updated: Apr 24, 2018 11:49 IST
While Phase-1 of the monorail has seen poor ridership, UPS Madan, metropolitan commissioner, MMRDA, says they are confident the numbers will improve when the entire corridor is made operational. In a conversation with Tanushree Venkatraman, Madan says MMRDA has learnt a lot from the long-delayed monorail project.
The monorail project has faced a lot of delays. Are there any lessons to be learnt from it?
The issues were not specific to monorail, but general issues that are relevant to any other project. It could have been a road or a Metro project. We mainly faced difficulty in acquiring land. Also, the line is passing through congested areas like Dadar and Parel. These are extremely crowded areas, where even constructing a staircase or an escalator was a problem. We would plan for the construction of a staircase that would be in front of a religious structure, shop or a residential area. So, tackling these issues led to the delays. We have definitely learnt from it. Solving land issues, getting permissions and decision-making have to be faster on these projects.
After the monorail fire, there have been suggestions from an expert committee and also the commissioner of railway safety. How do you plan to implement these suggestions?
There are a number of issues raised by the safety commissioner. Some of the suggestions have to be implemented immediately and some over a period of time. We are preparing a schedule for each activity accordingly. We are also noting the time-frame, funding and whose responsibility it would be. For instance, some suggestions have to be implemented by the government and not the contractor and vice-versa. For instance, one recommendation is that we have to set-up a claims commission just like the Railways. This cannot be implemented by the contractor. We are looking at complying with all measures in a month’s time. After that, we will ask the state government to issue a notification and start services.
The Phase-1 of the monorail has low ridership. Are you expecting that to change once the entire corridor is thrown open?
Increase in ridership is a definite thing that will happen. It is only now that all the congested areas will be connected, so the ridership will definitely increase. But the number of trips will be limited in the beginning because we have lesser number of trains. Still, with a 20-minute frequency, too, we expect the ridership to go up.
Are there any talks of reviving the earlier plan of a 135km Monorail in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR)?
Not immediately. Unless we see any real success here, we are not entering into any another monorail project. In fact, we have Metros designed in some of those lines planned earlier. Like there was a plan for a monorail for Kalyan, Bhiwandi and Thane. Now, we have a Metro there. We will now see if there can be an alternative transport system, such as light rail system or tramways, too, because a Metro is not possible in all areas.