How will that shift happen?
Most important is through and through connectivity. Once you enter the Metro System, as it happens in London or Singapore or Hong King or even Tokyo, you should be able to go wherever you want through that system only. May be you will have to change corridors but you will reach your destination through that system only. That we will ensure.
Another is better, more comfortable, more reliable, and more safe transport, which again is being ensured by Metro. The signaling system, the telecommunication system, everything is state-of-the-art. Especially in Line 3, we are having platform screen doors, and many other safety and security features. Even permit doors. So naturally it is safer than suburban trains. So the concept of Public Transport which is impressed upon our mind because of the suburban rail system, will get completely changed. And this will also give some breathing space to suburban rail system to make their own improvement, leading to healthy competition between two-three modes of transport. Each transport mode, to retain their own passengers, will have to keep their system up and running all the time. Today, it is a monopoly. Either you go on the road and get yourself trapped in traffic, or you travel on suburban railway with whatever quality service they provide due to reasons which are out of their control.
The major panacea for all infrastructure problems in our city is basically to improve the public transport system
Despite the first phase of Monorail being a failure and severely criticised, why is MMRCL still going in for the second phase?
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the second phase. The entire 20km Chembur- Mahalakshmi stretch was going to be a single corridor. It was divided into two phases only for operational purposes. While the first phase, Chembur to Wadala, was completed earlier since it was an easy stretch, the rest of the route got delayed as it passes through a congested area and crosses the railway line at two locations. For the first part, which is not much developed, we were able to get the Right of Way (ROW) without difficulty; but the second part has many redevelopment projects and has been a little challenging.
People must know that it just appears that Monorail is not doing well as the second part of the entire corridor is not functional yet. While one is a residential area, the other is a business district. Once the entire stretch is ready, the entire relationship and structure of these areas will change leading to development of the first stretch too. Sections of the monorail that are not connected with any suburban station too will get connected. I am sure that once we operate the entire stretch, all this criticism and skepticism will be laid to rest.
How has technology come to deeply change our mode of travel?
Technology is disruptive basically. For example, you have moved from simple taxis to Ola and Uber because of their technology. They have used technology to aggregate their services and give a better experience. Same is the case in Metro. It uses latest technology like lifts and escalators, signaling and CBTC base i.e., Communication Based Train Control system. Most of these trains will have automatic controls and automatic protection systems, the communication between two trains, two coaches, between driver to the station master, from station to the OCC — everything is now technology based. Technically, our train would also be Automation Level 4, that means they are kind of driverless trains. Not that we are doing away with drivers, but these trains are capable of running on their own. So technology has made lot of difference. Also, you have sensors that allow predictive maintenance. They will tell you when your lifts need maintenance by giving reports. So these trains will be better maintained, better taken care of and their efficiency would go substantially up. Technology has a major role to play in it.