Mumbai: Monorail to go high-tech

Mumbai: The entire monorail route of 19.54 kms —Jacob Circle- Wadala Depot-Chembur — was thrown open to public on March 3. The Phase-2 (Jacob Circle-Wadala depot), which was inaugurated after a delay of eight years, sees the increase in the ridership. The daily revenue generated is between Rs4.5-5.5 lakh.

Therefore, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) plans to minimise the use of paper ticketing and bring in a Quick Response (QR) code ticketing system. “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was intimated about the plan on the inauguration day itself. However, execution of the smart paperless ticketing may take up to two months,” said an official.

According to a plan to make paperless ticketing system a reality, agencies will be appointed for its execution. If successful, the commuters will just scan a Quick Response (QR) code through their smart phone on a dedicated monorail app and will obtain a paperless ticket on their mobile screen.

The official said, “Each monorail ticket costs around Rs 60. But, the commuters are charged Rs50 if they buy the smart cards. It means a loss of Rs10 on a smart card. Also, there are commuters who don’t return the tokens (plastic coins) after the travel. It is again a loss. In future, the ridership is expected to rise further and commuters travel will use both smart cards and tokens. To overcome losses, the QR code ticketing system is conceptualised.”

Justifying further the need of smart ticketing system, the official said, “Those who do not carry smart phones, they can take paper tickets. The counters will also be made available. The aim is to become smart and digital and reduce the losses.”
Interestingly, the MMRDA has also plans to earn a revenue on paper tickets by displaying commercial advertisements.

“The paper tickets will be 1×1 sq inch. An agency will be appointed for giving ads on the paper tickets,” said the official. In addition, the authority also plans to enhance the non-farebox revenue through conventional as well as innovative means. The monorail earns money by carrying passenger for which it charges money through fares.

It is known as fare box revenue and everything else falls under the non-fare revenue. The MMRDA recently floated an expression of interest seeking an agency to improve the non-farebox revenue. The interested bidders can participate in the process until April 11.

The selected agency will work on design, finance, build, operate and tr­a­nsfer model to make the non-farebox revenue a success. The official remarked, “As only 32 per cent of the operational cost is recovered through farebox revenue, the emphasis is now being laid on the non-farebox revenue generation.

It involves renting space for commercial units same on the lines of the Ghatkopar-Andheri-Versova Metro Line-1 and other national, international public transport utilities, and by adopting other methods of monitisation.” Before the commencement of Phase-2, the 8.8-km-long Chembur-Wadala route that became operational in 2014, had been struggling for ridership, barely attracting 10,000 passengers daily so far.

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