Mumbai: No new monorail trains will be procured by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) until the model code of conduct for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is in effect, said an MMRDA official. Although the authority has floated tenders for the purchase of additional rolling stock and supply of spare parts to repair unused rakes in the Wadala depot, no purchases can be made. So, until that time, other tender procedures will be completed, said the official.
Through the use of provisional funds, the MMRDA initially tried to purchase five rakes at Rs 40 crore each. According to the MMRDA, for the smooth operation of monorail, 17 rakes are required, which will ensure a five-minute frequency of service. Despite being fully aware that the authority did not have enough rakes to operate efficiently, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, head of the MMRDA, went ahead and inaugurated the much-delayed 11.28 km second phase of the Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail network on March 3.
Currently, services are being operated with just four rakes, with trains running at 22-minute intervals, from 6 am to 10 pm. For this reason, one month after the inauguration of the entire stretch, the MMRDA has only managed to attain a ridership of five lakh, earning Rs 96.29 lakh.
At the time of inauguration, CM Fadnavis had claimed the monorail would attract 30 lakh riders a month, once fully operational. The 8.26 km first phase, built and operated by a consortium of Larsen & Toubro and Malaysian firm Scomi Engineering, was commissioned in February 2014. Speaking at the event, Fadnavis had said, “The first 8 km route which got commissioned in 2014 was used as a mere joyride because there was no last mile connectivity. But now, with the commissioning of the second phase, it will no longer remain a joyride but passengers can now use it for a hassle-free commute.”