World's seventh-largest & India's first, here's all you need to know about Mumbai Monorail
Given Mumbai's dense population, local transport is majorly crowded and evidently so. However, where systems like Metro or BRT cannot reach, the monorail does. It is an effective mode of transport in Mumbai, which runs on a single track and given its lightweight structure, its capable of navigating sharp turns and twists in congested urban areas.
There are many Mumbaikars who are witnesses to the ease and convenience provided by India's first monorail service. But first, let's take a moment to look back and learn how Mumbai became home to the country's first monorail service.
A trip down memory lane
The decision to introduce an approximately 20 km-long Monorail Corridor, as a feeder service was taken by Metropolitan Region Development Authority, in its 119th meeting held on September 28, 2007. This corridor included Chembur – Wadala-Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk and along with it, MMRDA had appointed M/s Rites as a consultation firm.
In November 2008, M/s Rites presented a full Techno–Economic and Financial Feasibility study. This study was later published by the Government of Maharashtra for implementation, under the Tramway Act. By way of a thorough global bidding, Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Scomi Engineering, were appointed as contractors for the project.
Further, ingeniously designed to navigate spaces where roads couldn't expand, Mumbai's monorail held the title of the world's second-longest monorail corridor in 2014. At that time, it only bowed to Japan's Osaka Monorail Main Line, which presented a length of over 21 kilometres. Now, it is the seventh-largest monorail system in the world.
Phase 1 and Phase 2
Mumbai's monorail started commercial operations after partially opening its Phase 1 to the public on February 1, 2014. This phase spread across a distance of 8.93 KM, covered seven stations - namely Wadala Depot, Bhakti Park, Mysore Colony, Bharat Petroleum, Fertilizer Township, VPN RC Marg Junction and Chembur. Thus, the monorail effectively connected the city's harbour line, central line and western line - during its first run.
Years of delay later, Phase 2 was inaugurated on March 3, 2019. This phase of the project, spread across a distance of 11.2 KM, includes ten stations - namely GTB Nagar, Antop Hill, Acharya Aatre Nagar, Wadala Bridge, Dadar East, Naigaon, Ambedkar Nagar, Mint Colony, Lower Parel and Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk.
Fare, timings and booking
The much-hyped monorail initially failed to impress Mumbaikars, although it scored over local trains, in terms of comfort, ticket pricing and frequency. It was noticed that the journey duration and location of stations made the service less attractive to commuters. However, this rapid transit medium continues to provide a safe, premium and convenient travel experience to the citizens, even today.
If you are a student in need of a quick travel rescue or an office-goer looking for easy commute options, monorail in Mumbai is your superhero - just a cheap ticket away. The cost of the ticket varies between ₹10 - ₹40 for one-way, depending on the distance.
Moving forward with the agenda to offer the best services at an affordable price, MMRDA has also introduced smart cards. These cards can be purchased at a cost of ₹150, out of which ₹100 is a refundable deposit and ₹50 can be availed for travel. Tickets can be purchased with cash as well, at the booking counters.
Starting at 7:00 AM, stations are frequented by monorails, every 15 minutes, till 3:00 PM. Each train houses 4 coaches that can carry up to 568 passengers.
In March 2023, Mumbai's monorail service witnessed an increase in ridership after almost five years, which prompted MMRDA to expand the project and order ten new rakes to be deployed on an existing route.