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.)
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