Starting from April 15, operational timings of Mumbai Monorail will be extended. It will now function between 6am to 8pm. However, it will still continue to run in losses.
There are several reasons behind extending the timing. First, to provide transportation during both the rush hours of the day. Second, the monorail system being new in India, it was important to operate it for a limited duration initially. Third, the time chosen to extend the operations is just nine days before Mumbaikars cast their vote for the general elections, and, with school vacations starting, there is a possibility of more ridership
"As per the extended schedule, Mumbai Monorail — covering a distance of 8.83km between Wadala and Chembur — will run from 6am to 8pm at a frequency of 15 minutes. The first train will depart at 6am from Wadala and Chembur respectively," said Dilip Kawathkar, spokesperson of Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). Ever since the Monorail was opened for public use on February 2, the services are run between 7am and 3pm at a frequency of 15 minutes. Now the number of services will increase from 64 to 112.
However, the entire system is running in losses. The operation and maintenance cost of each service is Rs3,500 and this mean an average of Rs2.24 lakh is spent daily as against an average daily ticketing collection of Rs1.2 lakh. With a total of 112 services, the daily operation and maintenance expenditure will stand at around Rs4 lakh.
An MMRDA official informed, "There are chances of reducing daily losses because evening peak hour rush will also be covered this time. The afternoon time is a slack period that is being covered till now."
Construction is underway for the second phase between Wadala Depot and Jacob Circle, also know as Sant Ghadge Maharaj Chowk or Saat Rasta. This stretch will be ready only after a year. Meanwhile, an increase in ticket prices can only be a saviour to curb further revenue loss.