Mumbai Monorail: Tall claims & the reality

Mumbai Monorail's passenger carrying capacity per hour per direction is just 6,292 and not 20,000 as claimed by MMRDA. Similarly, with so many sharp bends and stations spaced at about a kilometre, the maximum speed of Monorail will be nowhere near 80kmph but will barely touch 45kmph

On a day when the first Monorail in the country has started running, should there be introspection on the decision taken and aspirations being raised to other cities in the country? Serious introspection is needed because there is a gross misinformation being propagated by the authorities (i) to justify the decision and (ii) to market the monorail system in India.

Point to ask by all cities and also state governments and the central government is, why has Maharashtra Government put the 185km of monorail system planned for Mumbai Metropolitan Region, including Mumbai region into cold storage? Very recently there was a news item that said that due to financial constraints, the Mumbai Metro Line-3 will get delayed in starting.

Who is governing Mumbai? Should not a Mumbaikar decide what should be provided for her mobility? When barely 3% of Mumbai population is using motorcars, why should all infrastructures being considered for car users? And when public transport is being considered, why are only capital intensive ones being thought of which also have low capacities and very long implementation time in a city that is heavily dense not just population wise but from underground utility services points of view also?

If one simply considers the time taken to construct the 8.8km and subsequent 11.2km of monorail and similarly for the 11.4km of Mumbai Metro One, the average implementation time seems to be not less than 50 years for 100km route.

Then what is the solution to Mumbai’s mobility problem? Well, the government may begin by making all transportation projects with people in mind and provide safe, comfortable and efficient systems by prioritizing walking, cycling and the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and bring about real democracy reflected on roads. What we need is Sustainable Urban Mobility. The aam aadmi must be provided the basic facilities which in fact are also of low capital costs. Just to give an idea, The underground Metro in Mumbai will cost Rs2,000 crore  per km, elevated Metro- Rs500 crore/km, The Monorail is costing Rs150 crore/km and BRTS will cost less than Rs25 crore/km. Yes, just Rs25 crore/km including the rolling stock for a capacity of 40,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) (check with Bogota- they have achieved 47,000 pphpd).

Table A gives the cost breakup for the Monorail as it was contracted to the consortium of Scomi. The current figures, it is gathered is Rs3,000 crore not Rs2,460 crore. Table B gives the computation of the capacity of the Monorail. The claim of 20,000 pphpd by MMRDA is misleading as the capacity is barely 6,292 pphpd. Table 3 gives comparison of reality and MMRDA Claims. With stations spaced at about a kilometre, the maximum speed will be nowhere near 80kmph but barely touch 45kmph. With so many sharp bends, the average of 30kmph considered by MMRDA needs to be seriously revisited.

All this leads to only one consideration. There has to be total transparency by the government agencies in placing before public and hold public consultations before deciding upon what is being done, for whom is it being done and whether there are any alternatives.


(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).  He is member of the committee constituted by the Bombay High Court for making the Railways, especially the suburban railways system friendly towards Persons with Disability (2011- ). While he has been an active campaigner against Noise for more than a decade, he is a strong believer in functioning democracy.)

jagdish prabhu
7 years ago
I also booked 1BHk in lakeshore next we informed to cancel booking refund our booking Amount Rs.72,000 but they told its not refundable. How can they say it's our whole year saving we are struggling for our first home in mumbai and they are telling the booking amount not refund. Is it we ordered pizza or we booked Tatkal train ticket ?? How can these builder and BJP government support this fraud builders ?? This is unfare I am sending mail to [email protected] and [email protected] she is sales person at loadha palava dombivali. No one reply mail if I call them they are telling your not educated it's not refundable. How rud they talking they cheating people then herresing people if you ask refund. Loadha owner from BJP government these are now in Tyler side so herring people and cheating people for money. Please help how can I get my money back Jagdish here mobile 9773777133
Sucheta Dalal
Replied to jagdish prabhu comment 7 years ago
WE would strongly advice you not to put our mobile number and personal details on email. That is an invitation to trouble, spamming and worse.

As for the issue you are facing - you need to start doing some homework at least now. You ought to have checked what you were signing before parting with your one-year savings -- after all, booking a house is not the same as buying a pizza. But even now, please look at the documents and see if they have any clear statement about refunds not being available. If that is not explicit, you can probably file a complaint with a consumer forum, or national consumer helpline, instead of sounding off about the BJP government. You will have to do the work yourself. Nobody will work to get your money back without details on a formal forum!!
jagdish prabhu
Replied to Sucheta Dalal comment 7 years ago
I am deeply depressed in last from that booking day my wife and me went there to cheque it's totally sales strategies. My wif is 6 month pragnent she also in tention. We are stay in rent house struggling for first home in mumbai. This kind of cheating only happens with poor and meddle class income people.
Anyhow I will not stop to tying and I will do anystep to get my money back.
jagdish prabhu
Replied to Sucheta Dalal comment 7 years ago
But this is not acceptable. I am doing homework. I explained no one told or not anywhere written about booking amonut non refund. After card swipe they taken printout copy of quotation payment structure paper and other lodha paper about project. Sales person taken signature on all paper pointed finger to sign. They taken sign on quotation paper taken sign on that booking amonut corner and after signature sales written in pen non refund and done round
mark for amonut. The booking
amount is 45,000 and advance GST benefit amonut RS.27,000
they taken extra. Now they are
telling both amonut non
refundable. If these corporate company's doing cheating and

fraud to grab money from struggling people then it will be

one day going worst and people try to do crime. Becoz it's our saving money they can't cheat and give Government know about this and they also not anything.
shadi katyal
1 decade ago
It is a well written article with some data but why so negative. People do need to move and even at this speed they are better off.

there is nothing about the breakdown when it happens and how people will be evacuated.
It is a good start and may help the mobility
Amarendra Sahay
1 decade ago
Raksh Pal Abrol
1 decade ago
The issue of Mumbai Monorail is still in dispute.The BEST is empowered to provide Electrical Energy under the BOMBAY ELECTRICAL licence,1905 to Railways,monorail and it does form part of Transport undertaking after 1965.The Reliance Infrastructure Limited have no license to provide electrical energy in South Mumbai from 30th May,1930.The Tata Power Company has broken the ties with RINFRA in the year 2008 and Supreme Court has over ruled the issue under Article 19(1)(g)claomed by RInfra.The RInfra has neither set up their own Transmission and Distribution between Chembur and Wadala of Extra High Tension and High Tension system during 2003 to 2014.S.C. has over ruled any OPen Access in BEST Area,after 2003,by MERC and APTEL.Under which provisions the target will reach of providing Bus Rapid Transit System(BRTS)and 20.000 passenger per hour per direcion,when the total capacity of mono rail is just 560.Source of Power not ascertain.Tata and BEST cannot divert the supply to Mono Rail managed by MMRDA or by RInfra.They are liable to wheeling charges as determined by MERC.
Dr Anantha K Ramdas
1 decade ago
Looks like somebody wants to make millions every year for 50 years or more!

Like the author said, it is better to go in for road transport, widen the roads and increase frequency.

Hope CAG is looking at this developing scam?
Melroy C F Fernandes
1 decade ago
Good analysis by Mr.Badami.
I wish to lay emphasis on particularly 2 aspects that he has pointed out. The over-spending on roads to benefit the ,usually single occupant,2 wheeler and 4 wheeler industry over that of mass transport systems. And, the encouragement of walking or cycling over short distances where mass transports cannot reach.I would add that pooling of taxis and rickshaws should be encouraged instead of single occupant hiring of taxis and rickshaws.
Raman Sehgal
1 decade ago
Excellent Analysis on technical aspects. However we must way in PPHPD achieved in operational BRT corridors (like Ahmedabad and Delhi) versus PPHPD achieved in a metro corridor in a metropoliitian city. Also BRT concept in Delhi has totally failed with inconvience at maximum for general public. Therefore we probably must explore even cost effective model like LRT in India which is successful in other parts of the world and has much lower cost/Km in comparision to Metro/monorails.
1 decade ago
higher the project cost, higher will be the commission to the politicians and the officials.that makes such projects viable to them
Simple Indian
1 decade ago
With a population like India has in every major city, let alone metros like Mumbai/Delhi, monorail can never be part of any RTS. At best, it will enable passengers travelling by taxis to opt for monorail. Moreover, the monorail route plan is so strange, it doesn't cater to most commuters who have predictable travel routes. What Mumbai needs is more East-West links. A metro-rail / BRTS connecting, say Borivali to Thane, or Andheri-Kurla-Vashi will have far more takers than a Wadala-Chembur-Worli route.
Also, town planners should focus on providing for adequate commuting options BEFORE people settle down, rather than build infrastructure AFTER millions have settled and encroached upon even public land originally meant for public transport systems. Navi Mumbai is better planned, but has its woes thanks to limited connectivity with the island city of Mumbai.
Ramesh Poapt
1 decade ago
Very good article! Thanks Moneylife..Its different!
1 decade ago
Will this end up as another scam?
Free Helpline
Legal Credit