The dream run of the city’s latest mode of public transport, the monorail, seems to have ended before it has begun.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has changed its mind and has decided to put on hold all plans for the expansion of the monorail till the first route is commissioned.
“There is no point in going for new routes. As long as the first route is not commissioned and the results are not out, we would not commission any new routes,” a top MMRDA official told DNA.
He added that this was the first monorail route in India. In other countries, monorails are usually used as a point-to-point service or as a feeder system but not for independent mass transit.
MMRDA commissioner Rahul Asthana, too, had indicated that the planning body had not taken a decision on going in for construction of a second monorail line unless the experience of the first was clear.
The 19.29-km first monorail route, which is under construction, will run from Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk (Jacob Circle) to Wadala and Chembur. The 8.922-km from Wadala to Chembur is expected to be complete by December this year. MMRDA officials admit that time overruns may occur. The 10.368-km second phase from Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk to Wadala is planned to be commissioned a year after the first arm starts operating.
Initially, the MMRDA drew up a master plan to add around 185 km of monorail routes in the MMR in two phases of 121.44 km with six routes and 63.22 km with three routes each. However, officials said the monorail was useful if the right of way available was not enough for a metro rail system and also for negotiating sharper curves.
A senior MMRDA official said that the need for a monorail would come to the fore when all the proposed metro rail routes were commissioned with the monorail serving as a feeder service.
The 19.29-km Jacob Circle-Wadala- Chembur route will be the first in the country and the second longest in the world after the Osaka monorail corridor in Japan which is 23.8 km long. A monorail with four cars will have a capacity for 562 passengers while a six-car one will be accommodate 852 passengers.