Metro Rail may provide only minor relief to Mumbai commuters
Is the government looking at projects that would benefit citizens or are they looking at what they perceive as vote catchers? Or are they looking at big-ticket projects so long as they appear to benefit all but actually might benefit only the rich and the mighty? Let us look at five sample News Items to begin with.
 
News Item (1): Twenty-five 32 seater hybrid electrical buses procured by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) MMRDA for BrihanMumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST), at a cost of Rs1.61 crore each that will operate with Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) as the hub, going to some five destinations in the City and neighbouring Municipalities. MMRDA is said to have decided to bear the operating costs as well.
 
This may be a forerunner to more AC Buses being operated. But prima facie, any success of public transport catering to any section of society depends upon the crowd within the mode, its travel time and commuter waiting time at transport bus stop. By merely letting people know when their next bus is likely to come, one is ensuring that commuters may opt for more comfortable alternative mode of transport if available immediately.
 
It is appropriate to mention of similar services being made from airport to different parts of Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi for quite some time now. Similar services were suggested to Government few years back
 
News Item (2): Three coaches out of the 12-coach of 70 suburban rail network trains to be air-conditioned coaches.
 
It is gathered that the purpose of providing the AC services is to attract motorcar users to public transport and to permit those already traveling by suburban local trains, little more comfort at ‘affordable’ prices. It must be understood that the price citizen will have to pay for this facility will be of practically having no effect on road congestion but denying the currently harassed rail commuters that much needed space in public commute. This is directly related to livelihood of most of the over 75 lakh rail commuters. Are car users expected to travel by train where the only place that will be less crowded will be the AC Coach – the rest of the railway system will continue to be overcrowded as before; actually more overcrowded.
 
News Item (3): Metro Work started on several fronts with the objective to complete the 194kms network of Metro Rail in Mumbai by end of 2021.
 
In 2004, the 146.5kms Mumbai Metro Rail Master Plan of nine Metro Lines (MMMP-2004) was unveiled, to be implemented in three phases and completed by 2021. The costs were estimated to be just Rs19,550 crore. The construction of 11.4kms Line No1 started in 2006, got to be put into service only in 2014. Till date the Government of Maharashtra through MMRDA had managed to complete only one line. The original planning was done with knowledge of limitations to availability of finance as well as the havoc it would cause by way of additional road congestion if work fronts were opened up at multiple locations. However, despite this the revised Metro Master Plan of 194kms costing nearly Rs1 lakh crore, has been commenced in 2015 at several fronts.
 
Everyone uses roads to commute irrespective of whether one is using suburban railway, and now single lines of Metro and Monorails. Road congestion affects everyone’s mobility adversely.
 
News Item (4): “Derail services, get your demands on track? RAIL ROKO As 3-hr blockade achieved what trainees couldn’t do in a year, such protests could become trend, say experts, wonder how rlys, agencies didn’t see it coming”
 
In the current political dispensation, little thoughts are being given to what is essential and also the tolerance limits of people to bear travel travails while they see scams and scamsters seemingly making hey while the government is looking elsewhere.
 
News Item (5): “When Mumbai raged red with farmer’s anger” an article familiarized urbanites “farmers’ and adivasis’ fight for Minimum Support Price, land transfer to their names under Forest Rights Act, implementation of Swaminathan Commission Report, intricacies of farm loan waiver and so on.. and similar protest marches on other issues.
 
Vision
Bogota, the capital city of Latin American country of Columbia, operates a bus service called Transmillenio with 175 person capacity buses at a frequency of about 12.5 seconds. It carries more than 45,000 persons per hour (pph) per direction at average speed touching 40 kmph. Keeping this in view, prima facie following is proposed for commute in Mumbai.
 
Let us look at what railways carry and its capacity. The Comprehensive Transport Study 2008 by MMRDA stated that Suburban Railway System provides a capacity of 1.80 lakh pph while it carries 3.60 lakh pph in the peak direction. There is a shortfall of 1.80 lakh pph public transport capacity that is needed to be infused into the system and it is by no means small. It is practically 100% of existing capacity.
 
A bi-articulated bus with sitting cum standing capacity of 250 persons operating at a frequency of 20 seconds will give a capacity of 45,000 pphpd. If we introduce a normal 10m single bus between two of the bi-articulated buses one with 15 seats, another with 30 seats and the third with 45 seats and no standees, the hourly capacity of this system will be 900 Business Class travellers, 1,800 First Class Travelers, 2,700 J-class travellers and 45,000 commuter class travellers i.e. 50,400 pphpd. Four such routes will give 2,01,600 pph capacity to the system. This is about 10% more than the much needed 1.80 lakh pph. It is estimated to cost not more than Rs10,000 crore. More such routes could be worked out of lower capacity but total capacity of around 2 lakh pph could be quite practically achieved. This system, along with some fine tuned features, could be termed as Well Designed All Inclusive bus rapid transport (BRT) System.
 
As against this bus system, the MMMP-2004 had envisaged a capacity of 72,000 pph. Apparently, in response to constant reminder to MMRDA of this great shortfall in capacity then envisaged, the revised plan the MMMP-2015 tries to provide 96,000 pph. This is primarily achieved by providing 8-coach trains instead of originally planned 6-coach trains. The capacity of the revised Metro will be about 45% less than the needed capacity of 1.80 lakh pph. Also, it is estimated to cost about Rs1 lakh crore, 10 times costlier than the bus system proposed above.
 
In the congestion with speeds of 8-10kmph, five lane highway carries not more than 10,000 pph. With increased speeds, in fact this drops further to perhaps 6,500 pph. If one lane is taken away for Metro construction as has happened currently, the maximum throughput will be about 8,000 pph and at higher speeds, dropping to 5,000 pph.
 
It is getting amply clear that the required capacity of 1.80 lakh pph will never be achieved with the approach to augment road capacity of personal motorcar usage. And the costs for providing Metro of this higher capacity is too exorbitant, quite possibly 15-20 times of the said BRT System.
 
Can we the citizens, realising that our government that is already in debt of about Rs4.25 lakh crore and having no guarantor for Metro projects, expect to be optimistic about their timely completion even though of inadequate capacity. Citizens should also remember that just as Mumbai has a very dense population, it also has quite a dense underground utility service lines that cannot be disrupted. Implementation delays have to be of foreground conclusion.
 
If the government continues to pursue with options that would not deliver and citizens are aware of this, should not citizens resort to agitation such a Long March to Mantralaya on a working day? After all the Long March will not be longer than 30kms and commuters number 70 lakh in Mumbai! 
 
(Sudhir Badami is a civil engineer and transportation analyst. He is on Government of Maharashtra’s Steering Committee on BRTS for Mumbai and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s Technical Advisory Committee on BRTS for Mumbai. He is also member of Research & MIS Committee of Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority. He was member of Bombay High Court appointed erstwhile Road Monitoring Committee (2006-07). While he has been an active campaigner against Noise for more than a decade, he is a strong believer in functioning democracy. He can be contacted on email at [email protected] )
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    COMMENTS

    Pratik More

    1 year ago

    This article seems to have been written by an amateur. Are you seriously comparing a BRTS with a Metro? Given the horrible state of WEH, a metro is the only feasible alternative. Line 2A, 7 and 3 are being constructed at such a fast pace which the previous Congress goverhment so pathetically failed at. 8 years and only one puny 11km metro line coupled with a ill planned 9 km monorail is what we got. Agree it or not but metro is the future and the only way to save the crumbling infrastructure of this megapolis. The idea is to divert some of the passenger traffic from the suburban rail to the metro and also increase the Number of public transit users from 70 lakh to 1 crore or even more. Metro 1 takes 4 lakh people daily and it has been hardly 4 years. Wait for the line 7 and 2A to commence by 2019 or early 2020 anf you will very well mince your words. Also the metro lines being planned have far flung areas lile mira road anf bhiwandi kalyan. I cannot really understand how can you even think about a BRTS over the metro when it has failed in cities of comparable size like Delhi. Agreed it has worked in Indore, Ahmedabad but thr sheer number of people suffering everyday in the local is much mich higher making metro imperative and pivotal for the city's growth.

    REPLY

    Yash Agrawal

    In Reply to Pratik More 7 months ago

    This article has been written by an expert and your analysis is horribly faulty. BRTS is a much better, faster and cheaper way than metro. This is the opinion not just of this transport expert but many others as well. Don't measure the success of a government by how many metros they build or began building. The government is ignoring BEST as it wants to privatize it and as it does not want competition for its upcoming metros. But the metros are themselves going to cost a lot. And no, metro is not the future and it certainly is not 'the only way to save the crumbling infrastructure of this megapolis'. BRTS failed in Delhi because the small BRTS which was opened was not planned properly, and the authorities have been biased towards metro while ignoring other transport modes. It is not fault of the concept of BRTS at all. BRTS exists in many cities of the world. Metros may be build if the governments go ahead with those projects, but don't forget the damage done to the environment and the enormous loss of public money done in the process.

    Subramanian Swamy terms AI divestment a potential scam in the making
    BJP MP Subramanian Swamy on Saturday described the Air India divestment process as "potentially another scam in the making" saying he would file a criminal complaint if he finds any "culpability".
     
    "The proposed sale of Air India is potentially another scam in the making. Selling family silver is not divestment. I am watching who is doing what and will, if I see culpability, file a private criminal law complaint," the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said in a tweet.
     
    Swamy's tweet came days after the divestment process of the flag carrier Air India (AI) took-off in the wake of government inviting "Expression of Interest" to off-load 76 per cent stake and management control of the airline.
     
    The Preliminary Information Memorandum (PIM) inviting "EoI" for the strategic divestment of AI, along with the airline's shares in AIXL (Air India Express) and AISATS (Air India SATS Airport Services) from private entities including the airline's employees was issued on Wednesday.
     
    The central government owns 100 per cent equity of Air India. In turn, the airline holds full stake in Air India Express, while it holds 50 per cent stake in the joint venture AISATS.
     
    Accordingly, it has been planned to divest 76 per cent government stake in AI, 100 per cent in AIXL and 50 per cent in AISATS.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
     

     

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    Rashtra Manch headed by Yashwant Sinha calls for restoring institutions of democracy
    "Institutions of democracy have been deliberately weakened including the Parliament, the Judiciary, the Election Commission and the media. The investigating agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Enforcement Directorate (ED), National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Income Tax (I-T) Department have become weapons in the hands of the government to cow down and silence its critics. It is time for citizens to come forward and raise their voices against these prevailing trends for protecting the Constitution and institutions of democracy, "says Yashwant Sinha, senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Mr Sinha, who has set up Rashtra Manch (National Forum) was speaking at an apolitical meeting of like minded citizens from across party lines organised in Mumbai. 
     
    Those present for the meeting, included former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi, Maharashtra's former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, Rajya Sabha members Adv Majeed Memon and Kumar Ketkar, Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) Jitendra Avhad, and Ashish Deshmukh, Sudhindra Kulkarni, former Justice Abhay Thipsay, former Postmaster General of Maharashtra and lawyer Abha Singh, journalist and writer Pritish Nandy, Priti Sharma Menon from Aam Admi Party (AAP), Tushar Gandhi, Prashant Gawande and several leaders of Shetkari Jagar Manch from Akola as well several prominent citizens. 
     
    Trinamool Congress leader Mr Trivedi pointed how the ruling party is not allowing the Parliament to function. "Everyday they are prompting some or the other kind of disruption to take place in the House, which is not allowing the Parliament to function. They (the ruling party) want to malign this institution of democracy so that they can push forward own agenda. We need to restore these institutions and save democracy," he said.
     
    Maharashtra former CM Chavan said "Unless we stop these forces, there will be no democracy left. In that situation, the 2019 general election may be the last elections we have."
     
    According to Mr Ketkar, the national discourse has become too shrill, polarized and dangerous for the health of our democracy. He said, "We live in an age in which facts can be manufactured and statistics made to order. The miasma of untruth has become so pervasive that uttering truth sounds like blasphemy. Propaganda has replaced performance as yardstick of success."
     
    Adv Memon, while describing how the Parliament is not being allowed to function says that there is an element of fear, which is ruling the roost and even members of the ruling party are its worst victims. "Even judiciary is under pressure from 'outside' elements," he added, while talking about the impeachment motion he had signed against Chief Justice Dipak Misra. 
     
    The meeting discussed current situation prevailing in the country and what and citizens should come together to raise their voices. It was decided to held agitation in several towns across Maharashtra against the prevailing practices and defeat the forces that have the country at this lower level.
     
    The broad agenda the meeting agreed upon included...
     
    1. Protecting, preserving and safeguarding the institutions of democracy in India at all cost and ensuring the complete accountability of those in power.
    2. Ensuring the complete security of farmers’ income.
    3. Taking full care of the livelihood concerns of all, especially the youth of the country.
    4. Ensuring the betterment of the quality of life of people, especially in the rural areas and in the urban slums.
    5. Assuring a life of dignity for women and providing full security to them.
    6. Protecting the constitutional rights of the weaker sections and the minorities.
    7. Ensuring complete national security in its widest sense----internal, external, economic, environmental and cyber.
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    COMMENTS

    Deepak Narain

    1 year ago

    PM Modi has not done many things expected of him. His style and objectives are different. But, the people assembled in the above gathering are disgruntled elements not accommodated by Mr Modi. They carry no merit or weight and deserve to be ignored.

    Shrikrishna Kachave

    1 year ago

    Its the need of the hour to save democracy from the clutches of dictatorship.

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