Mumbai’s monorail is slowly seeing an uptick in the number of commuters which is good news considering it was losing its ridership for the past few years. A total of 36.36 lakh commuters took the monorail in the financial year 2022-23 which is the highest in the last six years, reported The Indian Express.
Although this number is nowhere near the 61.66 lakh passenger count that was registered in 2015-16, it is still applause worthy that the monorail service is making a turnaround. The reason behind this is attributed to the increased rakes deployed on the route and monorail’s improved efficiency.
When the monorail was launched in Mumbai, it was hailed as a gamechanger since it was conceived as a lightweight transport system with the ability to make its way through narrow corridors making it a big deal for a city which sees tons of traffic congestion.
Monorail ridership over the years
In 2014-15, Mumbai’s monorail saw a ridership of 52.56 lakh commuters while in 2015-16, the numbers of commuters shot up to 61.66 lakh, as per the IE report. The report further claimed that in 2016-17, a total of 58.93 lakh passengers were recorded to be taking the monorail and this number fell dramatically in 2017-18, when only 33.24 lakh passengers took the ride. The number further went down in 2018-19 with 29.54 lakh commuters and 2019-20 registering 35.81 lakh passengers.
Then came the pandemic and from 2020-21 and 2021-22, the monorail recorded the passenger count at 4.96 lakh and 12.56 lakh respectively. Now in 2022-23, the gradual increase to 36.36 lakh passengers is grabbing attention of the authorities as this uptick has led MMRDA betting big on the project and planning additional 10 rakes to be deployed on the route.
Maintaining the ridership of Mumbai’s monorail
MMRDA has given an order for 10 new rakes to an Indian company based in Hyderabad called Medha Servo Drives Ltd. The first prototype rake will be available between August and October this year, reported IE. Once this prototype is approved, every three months, three rakes will start getting delivered, and in the next nine months, all 10 rakes will be delivered to the authority.
It is believed that introducing new rakes will improve the monorail’s frequency from 18 minutes to five minutes and will nearly double the total number of services to 250 each day.
Why do commuters prefer the metro over monorail?
Although frequency may not be a problem, commuters who spoke to IE, said that the monorail has a long way to go before it’s at par with the metro which is far more efficient for travelling in terms of comfort. A passenger also said that the monorails make more noise and keep vibrating throughout the journey which makes the commute scary and uncomfortable.
How did Mumbai’s monorail come into picture?
Mumbai, as we all know, has some of the most dense and congested areas and the idea was to make an alternate transport system that would make its way through these areas. That’s how the monorail came into picture. This led to the construction of a 19-km-long monorail that runs from Chembur-Wadala to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk in Mumbai Central, reports IE.