The cost of running Mumbai’s monorail project is expected to shoot up with operators demanding a higher rate.
The cost of running Mumbai’s monorail project is expected to shoot up with operators demanding a higher rate. While earlier they were making Rs 3,131 for a run of 9 km, they are now looking at Rs 18,000 for a stretch of 19.5 km. But commuters will be spared, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials said, with fares remaining the same. For travelling one station, the fare will be Rs 5 while for travelling a distance of six stations or more on the seven-station route, it remains Rs 11. The monorail, sponsored by MMRDA, restarts operations from September 1 after close to a year.
MMRDA needs to pay the monorail operators, the consortium of L&T and Scomi Engineering (LTSE), a fee to operate the monorail every time it traverses the 9-km route, which is the rate per trip.
For some time now, LTSE has argued that the per-trip rate of Rs 3,131 is not viable for operating and maintaining the monorail system. According to sources, LTSE has asked for a trip rate of Rs 18,000 for operating the monorail for both the phases, that is, from Chembur to Vadala and from Vadala to Jacob Circle (a total of 19.5 km). Currently, only Phase I is proposed to be restarted while operations for the second phase are yet to begin. The second phase is expected to commence operations after February 2019.
MMRDA officials told FE discussions with LTSE are on to arrive at a mutually agreeable trip rate. L&T declined to comment on the matter. The monorail, the first-of-its-kind transportation system in the country, has a capacity to carry up to 2 lakh passengers daily and was expected to have a ridership of at least 1.25 lakh. However, with only 9 km of the total 19.5 km length operational, ridership was only around 16,000-17,000 before the fire last year.