Mumbaikars currently commuting in heavily crowded suburban trains and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) buses will have yet another public mode of transport in the form of air-conditioned mono rail from August.
The city on Saturday saw India's first mono rail rolling out on a test run with people on it. The first phase of the project, between Wadala and Chembur, which is 8.80-km long, is expected to be thrown open to public in August.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a town planning agency and also the nodal agency for the city's infrastructure projects, on Saturday carried out a test ride amid claps and cheers by onlookers admiring the pink beauty on the beams.
"It's fast, fun and convenient," opined state chief secretary Jayant Kumar Banthia.
Gliding above traffic at maximum speed reaching 32 km/hour, Mumbaikars will be able to cover the 8.8 km route in flat 17 minutes for a minimum fare of Rs 8 per trip and a maximum of Rs 20. Each four-compartment train will have a carrying capacity of 480 passengers. Mumbaikars will get a world class travel experience. Nearly one lakh commuters are expected to travel on the Wadala-Chembur track daily. So far, eight trains have arrived from Malaysia and the remaining 13 will follow soon.
Rahul Asthana, the MMRDA commissioner, who accompanied the state chief secretary, told reporters that tests on the first phase would continue regularly to secure a safety certificate. MMRDA has already appointed Singapore Mass Rapid Transit Authority as consultant. Besides, a proposal by the state government to appoint a safety certificate engineer for issuing the safety certificate, as required by the Tramway Act, is also in process.
"We expect to commission the first phase of the project in August," Asthana said. The second phase, a 10.74-km stretch between Wadala and Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk (Jacob Circle), is expected to be completed by August 2014. This corridor will have 10 stations.
"The total project cost at fixed rate is pegged at Rs 3,000 crore. L&T is the civil contractor, and Scomi will be appointed for three years to carry out maintenance work," Asthana said.
Work on the Wadala car depot, spread over 6.5 hectares, is in progress, and it will have a parking capacity of 21 trains.
Once completed, the entire 19.54 km-long corridor, which will be the world's second longest mono rail corridor, will be able to carry 2.4 lakh commuters daily.
The mono rail world map marks Osaka mono rail corridor (23.8 km) as the longest in the world, followed by Tokyo mono rail (16.9 km), Tama Mono rail (16 km) and Star LRT in Kuala Lumpur (8.6 km).