Thousands queue up for monorail ride

Thousands queue up for monorail ride

The country’s first monorail on Sunday was opened up for Mumbai's public, which had hitherto not experienced a day’s travel in a lush, cool compartments despite a scorching sun outside.

Early on Sunday morning, long queues of Mumbaikars, eyes sparkling with curiosity, were seen at the seven stations along the 8.9-km monorail route between Wadala (south-east central) and Chembur (north-east).

According to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) Jt Director and spokesperson Dilip Kawathkar, people had queued up at the stations before the opening time of 7 am.

“The MMRDA closed all monorail stations today (on Sunday) at 2:30 pm. However, those standing in queue at ticket counters were issued tokens for travelling and, as per schedule, the train operations finally closed at 3 pm,” said Kawathkar.

Inaugurated on Saturday by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the soft sky blue, baby pink and spring green monorail rakes with black-and-white stripes, as part of the Rs 3,000 crore project, are being showcased as the Democratic Front government’s achievement.

The aerial views for passengers from the windows of the monorail include the Arabian Sea's black waves with sludge-topped froth, dark tar oozing from refineries, cramped claustrophobic huge garish high-rises, children playing in the muck and gutters, rolling green golf courses, truncated and tonsured hillocks and cars crawling on the Eastern Freeway. Kawathkar said at present the monorail will operate in the far-eastern shore of Mumbai: These are some of the most thickly populated areas which are not adequately serviced by the Western Railway, Central Railway and its Harbour Line. 

“The monorail, running at speeds between 31 and 80 kmph, will be a boon and help de-congest roads. In the second phase, the MMRDA will connect the eastern part with central Mumbai, a link which will have 17 halts in between and will possibly be considered as the second-longest corridor on the world monorail map,” added Kawathkar.

At present, 70 lakh people grapple to travel by suburban trains, trodding over each other's toes, and many-a-times precariously perching on the roofs or the weak awnings. Another 30 lakh commute in BEST buses, auto-rickshaws, and private vehicles.

Urban experts hope that the monorail will help ease the travelling pressure in the city which is a “Mecca” for dislocated populace from across the Indian sub-continent.

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