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HomeEditorialMetro train will carnage the face of Mumbai by 2022

Metro train will carnage the face of Mumbai by 2022

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Image: AFP

Mumbai already has local trains which also happen to be the lifeline of the city. Metro is comparatively very expensive. The metro work is going on, and almost all Mumbai and Thane are expected to be connected by this network. Mumbai got its very first metro line about five years ago that runs between Versova and Ghatkopar. More lines are making the connectivity around the City to an extent of 12 metro lines; some of them are having trial runs too. No doubt the metro work really took good speed and came to a satisfactory end.

The new metropolitan commissioner R A Rajeev is running against time: he aims to make the metro Mumbai’s longest public transport network in five years. That would mean surpassing Central Railway’s CST-Karjat line (122km) and the Western Railway stretch linking Churchgate to Dahanu (123km). The two add up to nearly 250km of track length, but short of the 276-km mark that hopes to conquer.

In range and commencement, the metro is presumed as the future of travel. Its potential can be measured from the fact that the 12 lines, on completion, would provide 250 stations for entry, exit and interchange—as opposed to the 100-odd stops on the suburban railway. Indeed, the consensus among planners is that the metro will have a transformative effect, shaping development, intra-city commute and life on the street in ways that render the network a key determinant of traffic and the economy.

Two of eleven Mumbai’s metro lines are already having trial runs. The Dahisar to DN Nagar line 2A and Andheri East to Dahisar East line 7 are almost on track. 90 per cent of the civil work is completed on these lines and they are having trial runs, but Phase 1 of the fully underground Metro 3, which is Colaba-Bandra-Seepz, is also expected to be operational from 2021.

In a status report by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA), trial runs for three Metro lines will be carried on from December 2021. The lines are Metro 2B (DN Nagar to Mandale), Metro 4 (Wadala-Thane-Kasarvadavali) and Metro 6 (Swami Samarth Nagar-Vikhroli). Meanwhile, work on metro lines Metro 10 (Gaimukh-Shivaji Chowk) and Metro 11 (Extension of Metro 4 till GPO) are slated to begin by this year.

Their trials are planned for April 2024. The much-awaited trial run for the Metro 8 line (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport-Navi Mumbai international airport) is tentatively estimated to begin by November 2024. Mumbai Metro will be successful like Delhi Metro. Today even though Mumbai Metro has only two operational lines which is Line 1 (Versova – Andheri – Ghatkopar) with a network length of 11.4 km it runs with a high passengers density of 30909 ridership per km since it is the only mode of transportation providing East-West connectivity in Mumbai while Delhi Metro has 12442 ridership per km in its 8 lines.

The current under-construction Mumbai Metro Line – 2 (Dahisar – D. N. Nagar – Mankhurd), Line – 3 (Colaba – Bandra – SEEPZ), Line – 6 (Swami Samarth Nagar – Jogeshwari – Vikhroli), Line – 7 [Dahisar (East) – Andheri (East) – CSIA T2] & Line – 11 (Wadala – CSMT GPO) would provide an alternative to Local Trains of Mumbai connecting various location which are not close to Suburban Stations. Also Line – 3 & Line – 7 would give faster connectivity to Mumbai Airport. Line – 4 (Wadala – Ghatkopar – Thane – Kasarvadavali – Gaimukh), Line – 5 (Thane – Bhiwandi – Kalyan), Line – 9 (Dahisar – Mira-Bhayandar), Line – 10 (Gaimukh – Shivaji Chowk, Mira Road) & Line – 12 (Kalyan – Dombivali – Taloja) would give Mumbai more connectivity to its satellite cities like Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Bhiwandi & Mira-Bhayandar.

Even though the current Mumbai Metro Line – 1 fare prices are quite costly, it was a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project where Reliance Infrastructure has more decision-making power. However, the government constructed the other metro lines, giving them the power to decide fare prices. Today Mumbai urgently needs another new mode of transportation as the Local Trains and BEST Bus are running with more than its capacity & the level of traffic in the city is getting worse day by day leading to a long and time-consuming traffic jam & causing high air & noise pollution.

Travelling by Metro would be little expensive compared to Taxis & App-based Cabs. We can only compare the two metros when they are comparable. Currently we only have 11 Kms of metro rail in Mumbai. Once the alternate reliable method of transport is available to Mumbaikars for their daily commute they will definitely use it.

Also during the Monsoon when the Local Train, BEST Bus, Auto/Taxi gets halted due to excessive rainfall, Mumbai Metro Line 1 which is complete elevated runs normally providing relief to the people who can take it as an alternative option. The only negative point of Mumbai Metro is that currently Line 1 has the most expensive fare compare to other Metros in India but in Delhi too when they increase their fare charges, some number of peoples had turned down Delhi Metro. If Mumbai Metro didn’t increase their fare charge, then its passengers would use it ignoring current fare prices.

Delhi was able to beat this criterion when building the underground metro because most of the construction for the underground metro took place a decade and in small phases. Hence traffic could be managed along with construction. Now the new underground lines can be added by exceeding the old ones. Mumbai Geographically is a linear city hence construction east to west will be small and easy to do but north to south would be a hard task. This means a lot of existing road routes have to be disturbed or re-planned.

Whereas in the case of Mumbai the person living in the Northernmost corner of the city to the southernmost point would have to travel through all the stations in between which would be a time-consuming thing failing the main goal of a metro to reduce travelling time.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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