March 12, 2014
Mumbai Mirror |
From 1.36 lakh passengers in first week, the figure has come down to 92,771.
Mumbai monorail, which began its first rides last month with great fanfare, is seeing fewer passengers because of poor feeder services, both public and private.
More than 1.36 lakh commuters travelled by monorail in its first week, February 2 to February 8. But the number has gradually decreased in the past few weeks, with the latest figures – for the week February 23-March 1 – pegging ridership at 92,771. (See box.)
Transport officials say the drop is not an indication of the popularity of monorail, which runs from Chembur to Wadala. They say more people travelled by the transit system in its initial weeks as they were curious to know how the country’s first monorail worked.
Commuters, however, say that a month after the launch, there are not enough feeder bus services from Wadala. The Wadala monorail station, in fact, is in a remote location where it’s difficult to find a cab.
“It is called the Wadala Mono Station, but it’s actually near the Chunabhatti-Kurla junction of the Eastern Express Highway,” said monorail user Aniket Joshi, who is considering to stop travelling in the air-conditioned four coach rakes.
Transport experts say that most monorail users from Chembur buy return tickets as “no one wants to get down at Wadala”.
Mirror visited monorail stations on Monday and found that Chembur saw the highest density of passengers. At stations like Mysore Colony and Bharat Petroleum, there were hardly any commuters waiting to board the monorail.
BEST had planned to start bus services near monorail stations, but so far it has not announced any. “It’s been only a month. We are trying to get an idea of the ridership before we start new services,” BEST spokesperson AS Tamboli said. “Initially, a lot of people took joyrides on monorail. Once we get an idea of the passenger density, we will start feeder bus services.”
Commuters say the BEST bus on route number 60, which runs between Kurla railway station (East) and Anik depot in Sion, could be easily extended to Wadala monorail station. “This will make life easier for monorail users,” said Rajni Welkar.
MMRDA commissioner Urvinder Pal Singh Madan said that the ridership had not fallen, but stabilised. “It will increase significantly once we the entire 20-km monorail stretch is completed,” he said.
Mumbai Monorail currently operates on the 8.8-km stretch from Chembur to Wadala and will extended to Jacob Circle by March 2015.