Line 1 (Mumbai Monorail)

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Line 1
Mumbai MonoRail Logo.svg
Overview
Type Straddle-beam monorail
System Mumbai Monorail
Locale Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Termini Chembur
Jacob Circle
Stations 7
17 (including Phase II)
Daily ridership 15,000
Operation
Opening 2 February 2014
Owner Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA)
Character Elevated
Depot(s) Wadala
Technical
Line length 8.93km
20.21km (Phase II)
No. of tracks 2
Electrification 750 V DC Third rail
Operating speed 80 km/h
Route map
Chembur Mumbai Suburban Railway Logo.svg
VNP and RC Marg
Fertiliser Township
Bharat Petroleum
Mysore Colony
Bhakti Park
Wadala Depot

Line 1, also referred to as Jacob Circle-Wadala-Chembur line/corridor, of the Mumbai Monorail is part of the monorail system for the city of Mumbai. It will connect Jacob Circle in South Mumbai with Chembur in eastern Mumbai.[1] It will be built at a cost of approximately INR3000 crore (US$500 million). The 20.21 km line is fully elevated. Line 1 is owned and operated by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).[2] The monorail serves some thickly-populated areas which are not adequately serviced by the Mumbai Suburban Railway.[3]

The first phase, built at a cost of INR1100 crore (US$180 million),[4] consists of 7 stations from Chembur to Wadala Depot, and was opened to the public on 2 February 2014. The second phase consisting of 11 stations from Wadala Depot to Jacob Circle will be built at a cost of INR1900 crore (US$320 million).[5] It is scheduled to open in March 2015. Nearly 28,000 taxis and autos, and 25,000 private cars are expected to go off the road after the opening of the monorail.[6]

Line 1 is the first monorail line in India, since the Kundala Valley Railway and Patiala State Monorail Trainways were closed in the 1920s.[7][8] When the second phase is commissioned, Line 1 will be the world's third longest monorail corridor, after the 55.5 km Chongqing Rail Transit Line 3 in China and the 21.2 km Osaka Monorail main line in Japan.[9][10]

History[edit]

A map of Line 1. Phase 1 in blue, phase 2 in red.

The following dates represent the dates the section opened to the public, not the private inauguration.

Line 1
Extension date Termini Length Stations
2 February 2014 Chembur Wadala Depot 8.93 kilometers (5.55 mi)[11][12] 7
March 2015 Wadala Depot Jacob Circle 11.28 kilometers (7.01 mi)[13] 10
Total Chembur Jacob Circle 20.21 kilometers (12.56 mi)[14] 17

Background[edit]

Then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh cleared the notification for the construction of the first monorail line in Mumbai on 18 August 2008. The line would connect Jacob Circle, Wadala and Mahul via Chembur, providing a feeder service to the existing Mumbai Suburban Railway. The notification formally appointed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as the system administrator for the monorail project. It would be responsible for construction, allied structures, signalling and safety. The notice also empowered the agency to acquire land along the route.[15]

Four consortia pre-qualified for the contract to design and build the project and also undertake operations and maintenance in January 2008. They were led by Reliance Industries, Essar, IL&FS Transportation Networks and Pioneer Infratech.[16] The two consortia left in the final round were Bombardier Transportation-Reliance Energy-Hitachi Monorail, and Larsen and Toubro-Scomi Rail. On 11 November 2008, the winner was announced to be Larsen and Toubro (L&T) along with Malaysian partner Scomi. The consortium was awarded a INR2460 crore (US$410 million) contract to build and operate the monorail until 2029. Scomi's portion of the contract was approximately INR785 crore (US$130 million) or 42% of the total value.[17][18] Scomi provided the design and integration for project as well as operating the monorail, while L&T was responsible for civil construction, ticketing and power supply. This was Scomi's first overseas project.[19] L&T prepared detailed construction drawings and documents, besides executing construction work and producing 3D geometric models of the guide beams to get erection and casting coordinates for shop drawings. The consortium used Autodesk Inc.'s AutoCAD Civil 3D software, to help build the monorail and bridge real-time collaboration between teams and stakeholders.[20]

Construction[edit]

Line 1 under construction in Chembur.
Picture taken: 13 July 2012
Line 1 under construction in Chembur.
Picture taken: 13 July 2012
Equipment used in the construction the monorail line.

The foundation stone for the project was to be laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 29 November 2008, but was postponed following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[21] Then Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan laid the foundation stone in a ceremony at the Acres Club, Chembur on 9 February 2009.[19] The MMRDA commissioned the construction of the line in two phases. The first stretch linked Wadala on the outskirts of the island city with Chembur in the north-east, and the second connected Wadala with Jacob Circle in South Mumbai.[21] The original deadline for the project was April 2011.[22] The project was delayed by issues involving land, removal of encroachments, delays in getting permissions from the civic body and railways.[23] The project has missed several deadlines for completion. The following months had all been announced as deadlines for the first phase - December 2010, May 2011, November 2011, May 2012, December 2012, June 2013, August 2013, 15 September 2013,[24] October 2013 and December 2013. Deadlines announced for the second phase were May 2011, December 2011, May 2012, December 2012, December 2013, June 2014, December 2014 and March 2015.[25]

An Right to Information (RTI) request filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali revealed that the three-year delay in commissioning the monorail was primarily due to change of alignment of its route, which led to further cost escalation of the project. The RTI query also revealed that the change of alignment and issues of cost escalation were not presented before the Chief Minister or the Urban Development Department of the Government of Maharashtra. The reply to the RTI was given by the deputy planner of the monorail. The deputy planner stated that the MMRDA commissioner had suggested exploring the possibility of an alternative alignment, avoiding the Haffkinne Institute and Bhoiwada route, during his initial inspection itself. The feasibility of an alternative alignment through Acharya Donde Marg-Khanolkar Chauk-Tata hospital was explored based on this suggestion, and was later approved by the commissioner.This proposed realignment was 1.1 km-long, as opposed to the existing alignment of 0.717 km. The overall increase in the alignment amounted to 383 metres. The MMRDA sent a letter to the BMC chief engineer informing him about the decision to change the alignment, stating that the route had been slightly modified due to serious Right of Way (ROW) constraints, requiring demolition of around 60 pucca legal structures on G.D. Ambedakar Marg from Gora Kumbhar Chauk. However, this did not fit into the stipulated time schedule of the project, and the alignment had to be changed. The route takes a left from Kumbhar Chauk on Acharya Donde Marg and E. Borges Marg and meets again at Mane Master Chauk. The decision of this alignment was taken jointly by the municipal commissioners of both the MMRDA and the BMC. To a question in the RTI regarding the cost escalation of the project due of the re-aligned route, the monorail authorities replied that no data was available with them regarding the matter. When asked to furnish a copy of the Chief Minister's approval for the change of alignment, the monorail authorities replied that Metropolitan commissioner sanctioned the change under the power conferred to him. The reply stated, “The Metropolitan commissioner visited the site on September 24, 2009 and instructed to change the said alignment. Senior officer P.L. Kadu made the proposal, which was sanctioned by the Metropolitan Commissioner on October 21, 2009.”[26]

A 108-meter test run was successfully conducted on 26 January 2010.[27] The monorail had its first test run on 18 February 2012 from its yard in Wadala to the Bhakti Park monorail station, a distance of around a kilometre. Scomi, the Malaysian company that supplied the rakes for the project, was in charge of the trial.[28] The first end-to-end test run of the rakes on the entire 8.26 km stretch from Wadala Depot to Chembur was conducted by the MMRDA in November 2012. The agency also completed the civil work related to the alignment, and shifted focus to completing the stations, as well as work on signaling and telecommunications. The trial was intended test the smoothness of the alignment, which was found to be fine, and fix technical issues. As part of the test run, the MMRDA first sent a shuttle down the alignment, followed by the full rakes. The rakes were operated at speeds up to 80 kmph, the maximum at which the monorail can operate. Empty rakes were also loaded with cement sacks to check whether the guideway beams on which the rakes run, could bear the weight.[22]

In a meeting between L&T and MMRDA officials, held on 23 August 2013, the MMRDA raised concerns over the lack of trains, inadequate safety measures, technical faults and inexperienced staff working on the project. MMRDA metropolitan commissioner U.P.S. Madan warned that the MMRDA would be forced to impose penalties and initiate legal action against the contractors in case of accidents.[29][30][31]

In late December 2013, the MMRDA announced that it had submitted an application to Safety Certification Authority (Engineer) for the Chembur-Wadala stretch. The Safety Certification Authority goes through the documents, and physically inspects the corridor, and commercial operations can commence only after receiving its approval. The MMRDA submitted documents containing details on facilities such as stations and equipment, power supply and traction installation, rolling stock, signaling, fire safety measures, speed certificate and passenger capacity. Reports on completion of the installations of the systems were been obtained from other safety consultants, and included in the application.[32] The MMRDA planned for a three-phase safety certification process for the first phase of the metro.[33] The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) had stated it did not have the capacity to certify the monorail, as it was a different system from the railways. The electrical workings of the monorail were certified by the Electrical Inspector General.[28] The contractor, the consortium of L&T and Scomi Engineering, appointed an independent auditor to conduct the first round of safety checks. The MMRDA appointed Singapore's SMRT Corp for a safety audit of the line. The final review was conducted by a former Commissioner of Railway Safety. R.C. Garg, retired Commissioner of Railway Safety, began a three-day inspection of the corridor on 13 January 2014. Garg, who had been in charge of the safety certification of the first line of the Delhi Metro, reviewed reports submitted by SMRT and the contractor's auditor, the stations, the car depot and alignment of the corridor. He also inspected critical aspects such as the traction, switch beams, preparedness of the staff for operation and maintenance and the customer interface in terms of the ticketing system.[33] The final safety certificate was issued on 20 January.[34][35] The safety certificate was then forwarded to the State Government, which issued a notification for commissioning the system. The notification contains norms for operation and maintenance of the system, which requires approval from the Chief Minister.[36]

In a meeting between the MMRDA and Greater Mumbai Disaster Management Authority (GMDMA) in late January 2014, just days before the planned opening, the latter identified a few loopholes in areas where safety aspects could be improved. The GMDMA suggested improving local coordination between the operators of the monorail and the other authorities at the ground level, such as the local police and fire stations. The agency wanted the control rooms of the monorail operators to be linked to other emergency control rooms in Mumbai, and sought the creation of the post of an incidence officer, who will be the coordinator for all emergency support functions. It also asked for detailed planning of exigency bus services, which can be put into action by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transportation (BEST), in case of dislocation of monorail services. The agency also studied security and safety issues in crisis scenarios, such as a monorail car stopping on the line at a high altitude, and the measures to avert a further crisis and safely evacuate the commuters.[37]

Opening[edit]

Line 1 was formally inaugurated by Chavan on 1 February 2014 at the Wadala Depot monorail station. After flagging off the first monorail train at 3:47 pm, Chavan along with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and other officials rode a bright pink monorail train, decked in flowers, along the entire route arriving at Chembur monorail station, 20 minutes later.[5][38][39][40] The party then proceeded to Gandhi Maidan, 15th Road, Chembur (East), where the Chavan declared the monorail "open".[41] The monorail was opened to the public the following day,[42] with the first trip commencing from Wadala Depot at 7:08 am.[43] According to the MMRDA, it had very few passengers, as the gates were opened to the public only at 7:10 am, when the train had already left.[44] Nallasopara resident Sunil Appa Khade claimed to be the first ever commuter on the monorail. However, Abhishek Chopra claimed that though he was second in queue, he had managed to enter the monorail first.[44][45] The first train from the opposite side, departed Chembur at 7:10am[46] Services had been scheduled to operate until 3:00pm, however, station doors were closed by 2:30pm due to larger than expected ridership. Services were operated until 4:30pm, in order to provide a ride to everyone who had purchased a ticket.[47] MMRDA spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar stated, "Although stations were closed, those who were standing in queue at the ticket counters in the station area were issued tokens for traveling and as per schedule, the train operations closed at 3 pm. An announcement to this effect was made at all monorail stations."[43] The line maintained a headway of 12–13 minutes on average on opening day, although the frequency dropped to 20–30 minutes in the afternoon, as it took longer than expected to clear the alighting passengers from the platforms and stations.[18][43] On opening day, 19,678 passengers travelled on the line. Sixty-six services were operated on the first day,[48] netting a revenue of INR2.2 lakh (US$3,700) through the sale of tickets and smart cards.[43][45][49]

According to the MMRDA, between 2 February and 1 March, a total of 4,58,871 commuters used the monorail, generating a total revenue INR44,66,522.[50] The average daily ridership dropped from 20,000 during the first few weeks to 15,000 by March 2014.[51][52][53] The monorail was closed for the first time on 17 March 2014 due to Holi.[54] The closure was in line with practices adopted by the rapid transit systems across the country. Most metro services operate only in the later hours of the Holi day. However, as the Mumbai Monorail services operate only from 7am to 3pm, the services remained closed for the entire day.[55] The monorail suffered its first technical snag on 2 April 2014 after the signalling system failed around 10:30 am, causing services on the line to be disrupted for 45 minutes. While monorail authorities worked to fix the problem, services were operated using manual signalling at every monorail station. Authorities claimed the problem was caused by overcrowding.[56][57]

Escalators were not included in the original contract for the project, and the decision to install them was taken in mid-2012, three years after construction work on the project had begun.[58] As a result, commuters had to walk to and from the entry points of stations.[59] Escalators are planned to be installed at all 7 stations of the first phase by March–June 2014.[60]

Route description[edit]

A monorail train passing by the RCF refinery.
A monorail train passing over Chembur Naka junction.
A monorail train passing over slums.
The tracks on which the monorail trains run.

The monorail provides a tree-top view of the city. From Wadala Depot to Chembur, the monorail route passes by the IMAX Dome Theatre at Bhakti Park, the Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertiliser (RCF) refinery and its housing colony, crisscrosses the Eastern Freeway twice and terminates opposite the Chembur Fine Arts Society near Chembur railway station. As it approaches Chembur, commuters get a view of a marble Jain temple, the Charai Lake, penthouses and a panoramic view of the RCF refinery. From both sides during the journey, commuters can view large tracts of darkish green-grey mangroves, gardens and golf courses, the hillocks in the eastern side of the city as well as the mainland, Thane Creek, big and small lakes and other water bodies.[3] The ride also offers an aerial view of the Arabian Sea, the elevated Eastern Freeway, a cricket ground, the Chembur golf course, uninhabited hillocks in the eastern side of the city as well as the mainland, salt pans, large tree canopies, a river-like culvert and wide-open spaces without a building in sight. It also passes by large slum pockets, cinemas and residential complexes, a quaint municipal school and a little-known railway track from the refinery. At some vantage points, commuters get a direct view of apartments on the third floor. At other points, it looks down on arterial roads and junctions.[3][61]

Line 1
# Station Name Opening Connections
1 Chembur 2 February 2014 Chembur railway station (Harbour Line)
2 VNP and RC Marg 2 February 2014 None
3 Fertiliser Township 2 February 2014 None
4 Bharat Petroleum 2 February 2014 None
5 Mysore Colony 2 February 2014 None
6 Bhakti Park 2 February 2014 None
7 Wadala Depot 2 February 2014 None
8 GTB Nagar March 2015 None
9 Antop Hill March 2015 None
10 Acharya Atre Nagar March 2015 None
11 Wadala Bridge March 2015 None
12 Dadar East March 2015 None
13 Naigaon March 2015 None
14 Ambedkar Nagar March 2015 None
15 Mint Colony March 2015 None
16 Lower Parel March 2015 None
17 Chinchpokli March 2015 None
18 Jacob Circle[62] March 2015 None

Infrastructure[edit]

Rolling stock[edit]

Interior of a royal pink monorail coach.
An apple green monorail train rounding a curve.
Door of an apple green train.

The monorail cars were built in Malaysia by Scomi Engineering Bhd. The first car was shipped to India on 2 January 2010, marking the first time that rail cars manufactured by the company were exported overseas.[17] Six trains currently operate in the first phase of the line. Ten more will be added in the second phase.[63] The monorail train travels 6.5 metres above the road on a 800mm-wide cement rail. The monorail trains used on Line 1 are of the straddle type grasping system. A pair of large wheels, fitted with aircraft-type tyres (Michelin run-flats), sit directly on top of the rail. The nitrogen-filled load tyres bear the weight, but do not carry the burden of keeping the 60-tonne train on the track alone. Each set of wheels has its own set of octopus-like arms, with guide wheels attached, that clasp onto the sides of the rails. The suspension is pneumatic and the train rides an air cushion and shock absorbers help damp out any secondary vertical oscillations. The guide wheels have their own lateral suspension system, which prevents the train from swaying dangerously. Power for the monorail comes from electricity taken from the grid. Traction motors are connected to the axle through CV joint shafts and conductive "shoes" on the carriages collect electricity from the wire lining across the guideway. Trains use a monocoque superstructure mounted on a solid frame. The coaches and electric motors attach to the underside of the frame, while the passenger compartment sits on top. The chassis has a lot of aluminium bits to reduce weight, with fibreglass panels used to further reduce weight.[64]

Monorail trains use regenerative braking system which enable about 25% saving in power consumption,[65][66] but have no battery pack, so power is returned to the grid, where it circulates in a loop till another train comes along and picks it up.[64] Trains are equipped with advanced passenger driver communication.[66] Studies conducted by the MMRDA during the trial runs of the monorail on the Wadala-Chembur phase, found that the monorail produces a noise level of 65-85 decibels, making it quieter than a BEST Bus which produces close to 95 decibels. Officials state that the lower noise levels of the monorail are due to an absence of metal parts in the underframe of the coach, as well as specialised rubber wheels that help the coach straddle the single beam or rail.[67]

The MMRDA approached the National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad to design suitable colour schemes for the monorail and to conceptualize its interiors. The colours are intended to "break the monotony of the cityscape and depict vibrancy and diversity of Mumbai". The NID researched the Delhi Metro, Mumbai local trains and the BEST bus system in order to design the interior for the monorail coaches. A bench-type seating arrangement was chosen, and "tough materials and finishes, accommodative and maintenance-free surfaces" were used for the coach interiors.[68] Monorail trains are royal pink, apple green, and ice blue in colour,[68] with streaks of black and white.[3] Each monorail train consists of 4 coaches having a combined passenger capacity of 568.[69] There are roughly 18 seated and 142 standing passengers at an average of seven persons per square metre per carriage (the end cars have a different capacity due to the driving position).[70] The low number of seats was to ensure that the flow of people in and out of the coach was not hampered.[71] Some sections of seats are reserved for pregnant women, the elderly and the differently-abled.[72] Handrails and handgrips are installed in coaches, within easy reach of all standing passengers. A 4-coach monorail train has a total length of 44.8 metres, and each coach weighs 15 tonnes.[64] All coaches are air-conditioned.[71] There are 2 CCTV cameras installed in each coach.[73] The train interiors are mostly in pastel shades with large windows offering multi-dimensional views and uncluttered seating arrangements.[3][61]

To drive the monorail, train captains need to slide into the driver’s seat and wait for the signal. The Vehicle Management System informs the driver of the speed, the amount of electricity being sent to each car, what the brakes are doing, the air pressure in every tyre, and the status of the doors, all in real time. Once all safety checks are completed, the driver can accelerate the train by moving a lever forward. The lever works like a throttle on an aircraft, and has two functions, forward for drive and back for brake. Trains can accelerate to 60 km/h in 23.35 seconds and 80 km/h in 41.51 seconds. Trains have disc brakes for optimum stopping power. When the lever is pulled back initially, regenerative braking is applied as the train's electric motor spins the other way and collects power rather than pushing it out. Pulling back harder on the lever, engages the disc brakes which can be used to reduce speed and bring the train to a halt. Another set of emergency disc brakes engages, in case the regular brake fails. At tight corners, the monorail banks at a six-degree angle and passes the corner without slowing down. Like all trains, the monorail also has a Dead Man’s Switch, where the train’s emergency brakes are applied if pressure is not maintained on the controller.[64]

Stations[edit]

Bhakti Park station as seen from street level.
The Concourse Level of a station.
Staton platform.

The stations are situated at a minimum height of around 5.5 metres, higher in some locations, and can be accessed by staircases and escalators.[3] Each station has a total of four escalators - two from ground level to concourse, and two more from concourse to the platform.[59][60] Stations do not have any public toilets,[58] and only the monorail staff have access to washrooms.[74] MMRDA Commissioner UPS Madan defended the absence of public toilets, stating "Nowhere in the world are there public toilets at monorail stations. The monorail journey is a short one, so the provision of public toilets was not made when the plan for stations was chalked out."[74] Platforms at stations lack seating for commuters. Stations also lack other public conveniences such as drinking water facilities, and seating arrangements.[66][75] MMRDA commissioner U.P.S. Madan announced on 3 March 2014 that three benches would be installed on each platform, and drinking water facility would be provided at all stations "in couple of months".[76] All stations are equipped with baggage scanners, armed security guards at all stations entry points and CCTV cameras.[65] Personnel of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) are deployed at the stations.[77]

The Chembur monorail station is connected with a skywalk to the Chembur railway station.[78][79] However, the Wadala Depot station is at least 2 km away from the Wadala Road railway station.[4]

Depot and control centre[edit]

A train leaving the depot at Wadala.
Trains at a station platform.

The 6.5-hectare Wadala car depot provides parking facilities for 21 trains with an operation control centre, a training centre, a power station, a receiving traction substation and a full-fledged administrative facility. Authorities can monitor the monorail's speed, signals, brakes, communication and safety from the control centre.[66] The operation control centre is equipped with video feeds from CCTVs enabling round-the-clock surveillance, and train power supply and monitoring tools like SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition).[20]

Vehicle and train washing specialist Smith Bros & Webb was awarded a contract to provide Britannia Train Wash plants for the Mumbai Monorail. Smith Bros & Webb designs and manufactures its own wash equipment under the brand name of Britannia.[80]

Safety and security[edit]

Every station on the line is equipped with Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMDs),[81] X-ray baggage scanners, CCTV cameras[82] and comply with NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) 130 norms.[20] Around 500 armed personnel and private guards are deployed at the 7 stations of the first phase. Officers in plainclothes are present inside trains, and real-time checks are conducted to curb trouble-makers, pickpockets and molesters.[82] All stations have armed security guards at all entry points,[65] and personnel of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) are deployed at the stations.[77] All personnel manning the station premises are equipped with hand-held detectors. A bomb detection and disposal squad and a dog squad are also deployed at all stations.[82]

The doors of coaches will not open when the train is in motion.[64] If a monorail driver jumps a signal or becomes immobile during travel and is unable to read signals, the system will activate an automatic train protection system. The system will first prompt the driver to apply the brakes through a radio warning, failing which, the system will automatically activate the brakes and halt the train.[20] Train captains undergo breath analyser tests when they report to work to ascertain if they are drunk, similar to aircraft pilots. If any monorail official is found to be drunk, administrative disciplinary action is to be taken against the official, apart from which penal action will also apply. The notification published by the state government on 20 January 2014 states, "If any Monorail official is in a state of intoxication while on duty, where the improper performance of the duty is likely to endanger the safety of any passenger travelling or being on the Monorail, s/he shall be punishable with fine of Rs200."[83]

The Mumbai Monorail has an operational policy cover from New India Assurance and liability policy cover from Tata AIG General Insurance, a total insurance cover of around INR1200 crore (US$200 million). New India Assurance issued an all industrial operational policy which covers fire and engineering failure. The MMRDA has stated that it will also take a terrorism cover.[84]

Advertising[edit]

The MMRDA invited proposals from agencies for securing, maintaining and leasing of bulk commercial advertisement rights to display advertisements on monorail piers and for securing advertisements at all the seven stations on the Chembur-Wadala corridor in September 2013. The appointed agency will fix, maintain secure advertisements for the station areas and maintain monorail piers by removing all unwanted posters, stickers, drawings, graffiti etc. and also lease advertisement rights of these piers for commercial advertisements.[85] The initial upfront annual premium set by MMRDA was about INR7 crore per annum (including both platform and piers). This amount was reduced to INR5 crore and then to INR3 crore per annum due to a lack of interest from advertisers. However, interest remained low among advertisers, which OOH vendors blamed on the high license fee set by the MMRDA. Jignesh Sharma, Director of Aagya OOH Media stated, "Most of the piers are in areas which are not advertisement friendly. Apart from this, the traffic flow of the monorail is around 18,000-20,000 visitors per day and the platforms are open only from 7 am to 3 pm. How much exposure can we give to our advertisers? The capital expenditure itself will be much more than the license fee that MMRDA is expecting." Yogesh Lakhani, CMD of Bright Outdoor, remarked that the MMRDA must understand that given the business conditions and the undeveloped areas that most parts of the monorail passes through, recovering cost for vendors would be impossible. The head of another media agency stated that since 70-75% of the piers would be in undeveloped areas or surrounded by mangroves and salt pans, there would be little scope for motorists to view the advertisements.[86]

Operations[edit]

Ticketing[edit]

The Mumbai Monorail uses an automated fare collection system.[20] Tickets are sold in the form of tokens, that are electronically programmed. Passengers must commence their journey within 20 minutes of purchasing a token, or it will be deemed invalid, and will not be accepted by the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates. After purchasing the token, passengers then approach the entry area where flashing the token at the sensor near the box will clear access. Commuters then undergo baggage screening by the security personnel. Tokens must be deposited at the end of the journey for the passenger to exit the station. Stealing the token is an offence, and passengers in violation can be punished under the Tramway Act, 1948.[73]

The minimum fare on the line is INR5 and the maximum is INR11.[87] Only contact-less smart cards and contact-less smart tokens are sold. Smart cards are valid for six months from the date of purchase/recharge. A smart card costs INR150 (US$2.50), of which INR100 is a refundable security deposit and INR50 can be used for travel.[88] This can then be recharged with any sum between INR100 and INR1000.[89] Children below 90 cm height do not need tickets. No tourist passes are sold.[88] The MMRDA had planned to allow the purchase return tickets,[76] but dropped plans due to "complications".[90] The existing systems including AFC machines, do not permit a passenger to carry the token out of the station. Besides, passengers are required to commence the journey within an hour once the token is issued, thereby making it difficult to issue return journey tokens. However, the MMRDA stated that it was considering the option of providing daily, monthly and quarterly passes.[91]

Tickets can also be purchased using the Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) installed at stations. TVMs accept coins of denominations 1, 5 and 10, as well as notes of denominations 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. However, machines reject soiled notes. Initially, the TVMs did not accept the smaller, new INR1 coins and instead only accepted the older coins, an unexpected fallout of the monorail project being delayed. The machines were manufactured in 2011, when the new INR1 coins had not entered circulation. Monorail authorities have promised to modify the machines, so that passengers can use any kind of INR1 coin.[44][75]

Frequency[edit]

Trains operate from 6 am to 8 pm. Services run every 15 minutes on the line.[92] The monorail will reduce the travel time between Wadala and Chembur from 40 minutes at present to nearly 21 minutes.[63] Trains have a top speed of 80 km/h, and an average speed of 65 km/h.[93] The system has been designed for a 3 minute headway with operation from 05:00 to 24:00.

Monorail services initially operated in a single shift from between 7am and 3pm, running 64 services per day.[51][52] The MMRDA claimed that the decision was because it wanted to cautiously roll out the system, as the monorail system was nascent in the country,[94] its staff were new to monorail operations, and uncertainty over passenger traffic.[95] The MMRDA had stated that operating hours would be extended after authorities increased operations and maintenance staff, as well as studied the passenger traffic.[58] MMRDA commissioner U.P.S. Madan announced on 3 March 2014 that monorail services would operate from 7am to 7pm before the end of that month.[76] This was later postponed to mid-April, but plans were modified to operate the monorail in a 14-hour shift from 6am to 8pm. The MMRDA doubled its staff strength in order to operate the additional services.[51][52] The monorail began operating from 6am to 8pm, starting 15 April 2014. This will bring the total number of services operating per day to 112. The move was primarily intended to allow the line to cater to peak-hour traffic in the morning as well as evening.[96][97][98]

Ridership[edit]

On opening day, 19,678 passengers travelled on the line. Sixty-six services were operated on the first day,[48] netting a revenue of INR2.2 lakh (US$3,700) through the sale of tickets and smart cards.[43][45][49] Sixty-four services were operated on the second day of operations, a frequency of one train every 7–8 minutes. Around 19,600 passengers used the monorail service, netting a revenue of INR2.5 lakh (US$4,200).[18][48][99] On the second day operations, the MMRDA also announced that it had decided to install three benches on each platform.[100] The line transported 19,800 people on Day 3, operating a total of 64 trips.[101] In the first week of operations (2–8 February 2014), the monorail transported 1,36,865 passengers in about 512 trips, earning a total revenue of INR14,24,810. A total of 1,32,523 tokens and 1409 smart cards were also sold during the first week.[102][103][104] Between 8–15 February, 142,410 commuters travelled across the corridor in over 521 trips, earning the monorail a total revenue of INR27,95,115. More than 500 smart cards were sold in the second week itself.[105][106] The third week of operations saw a 18% drop in ridership compared to the first week. About 1.12 lakh passengers made 475 trips on the monorail, earning a revenue of INR10.50 lakh. Smartcard sales fell by 80% compared to the first week.[107][108] Revenues dropped by over 40% in the fourth week of operations (compared to the first week), as 92,771 rode the monorail.[109] According to the MMRDA, between 2 February and 1 March, a total of 4,58,871 commuters used the monorail, generating a total revenue INR44,66,522.[50]

Over the next two weeks, 76,590 and 41,405 paasengers respectively traveled on the line.[110] The average daily ridership dropped from 20,000 during the first few weeks to 15,000 by March 2014.[51] In the last full week of 8-hour operations (from 6 April to 12 April), 65,760 commuters used the monorail. Services began operating for 14-hours daily, beginning 15 April 2015. However, the first day of the extended operations saw much lower ridership than the corridor had seen during first few days of its operation.[111] On the first day of the monorail's extended run, it carried 15,016 commuters traveled on the line bringing in revenue of INR1.32 lakh.[112][113][114] Most of the ridership on the line initiates from terminal stations of Chembur and Wadala Depot.[115]

The monorail operates at a loss of around INR5 lakh per day and INR1.5 crore per month. The cost of operating the monorail is INR7 lakh daily, while the revenue generated from ticket sales amounts to only about INR2 lakh. Nearly INR1 crore a month is spent to pay the guards of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC). Every single trip costs the MMRDA INR3500 inclusive of maintenance, electricity, and security.[116]

Rules and penalties[edit]

Offence Fine (INR)
Ticketless travel due to loss 200
Drunkenness or nuisance 200
Demonstrations or pasting posters 200
Rooftop travel 200
Unlawful entry up to 100
Walking on guideway beam 200
Endangering safety of passengers up to 200
Obstructing running of train up to 200
Obstructing monorail official in duties up to 200
Needless interfering with means of communication in train up to 200
Altering / defacing / counterfeiting pass or token 200
Unauthorised sale of articles inside monorail up to 200
Defacing public notices up to 200
Unauthorised sale of tickets up to 200

Journeys must commence within 20 minutes of purchase of token. It will not be accepted by Automatic Fare Collection gates after that period.[88] Unlike local trains, where commuters can commence their journey within an hour of purchasing a ticket, passengers on the monorail must begin their journey within 20 minutes of purchasing a ticket for the monorail. Commuters will be fined INR10 per hour for overstaying the limit. This information is displayed on signboards installed at stations that read, "Permission limit for staying inside the stations after entry is 20 minutes for same station and 120 minutes for other stations. Overstaying beyond above limits will be charged at the rates of Rs 10 per hour, subject to maximum of Rs 100." [66] Travelling beyond the defined destination will be charged with a fixed penalty of INR50 and additional fare of overstepped distance.[88]

Consumption of food and chewing tobacco in the premises above the concourse is prohibited.[117]

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