Monday , 22 January 2018

Is Equitable Transport Facility for Mumbai Possible?

Will Metro Plan really address the Mobility issues of Mumbai even after huge investment in Mumbai Metro? What about the hardship citizens will have to undergo during long construction phase? Will commuting in Mumbai ever be safe and comfortable leave aside pleasurable? Sudhir Badami questions

Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) is about 460 square kilometer in size while the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) is about ten times this size. The 2011 census said that about 125 lakh people resided in the MCGM area and nearly 200 lakh in the MMR including the MCGM area. The original Central Business District (CBD) at South Mumbai is no longer the only one in MCGM area. We have the former mill land areas around Parel, financial hub at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), industrial and IT hub at Andheri MIDC cum SEEPZ and Goregaon East too. People continue to commute from far and near in the MMR while also travel to other Municipal Corporations such as Bhiwandi-Nizampur, Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Ulhas Nagar, Mira-Bhayander, Navi Mumbai and Vasai-Virar. There are industrial setups at Khopoli, Thane-Belapur Trans Harbour, Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai and Patalganga. A lot of these are connected by the Railways and many by network of Highways and city arterials. While places away from the MCGM may suffer due to sparce public transport to a spread out population and local points of economic activities, the MCGM area suffers from considerable yet totally insufficient public transport.

The railway carries, as per the CTS- 2008, about 3,60,000 persons per hour (PPH) in the tidal direction and yet has a capacity of 1,80,000 PPH. There is a dire need to infuse the system with additional public transport of capacity of about 2,00,000 PPH in order to attain zero tolerance of fatalities on Railway system which currently is about 3,600 persons per year.

Government of Maharashtra through Mumbai Metropolitan Development Authority (MMRDA) and Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) has planned a 194km of Mumbai Metro Master Plan (MMMP-2015).

The Mumbai Metro Master Plan 2015

If we run 8 Coach Metro Rail Trains every 3 minutes, each coach of capacity 300, i.e. train with 2,400 capacity with 20 services per hour will provide an hourly capacity of 48,000 (i.e. 48,000 persons per hour per direction or PPHPD) The original 146.5km Mumbai Metro Master Plan of 2004 has been modified past thirteen years and it is now a 194km Metro Rail Network. Table A shows Line number wise type, length, cost estimates, cost per km and planned completion date. Table B shows Line Number wise location coverage and capacity for those sections, assuming each line is running at the full capacity of 48,000PPHPD.

Unless the citizen demand of making the part of Line 2B underground till BKC, the cost estimate `87,751Cr after some minor correction can be stated to be `1,00,000 Cr. The alignment of 2B has been changed from Linking Road to Swami Vivekanand Road, a decision just not to go underground and give in to Citizen demand. Government is behaving as Ruler, ruling its subjects rather than as elected government, governing its citizen.

Government of Maharashtra through MMRDA and MMRCL will have to spend about `30,000Cr in the years 2018 & 2019 each and `20,000Cr in 2020 & 2021 each. Finance for only Line No.3 is tied up, to be spent over four years.

Creating Mobility in Mumbai

The section on MMMP-2015 reveal that Metro will not be able to provide the much needed 2,00,000 PPH capacity of additional public transport to reduce the load on Railway System to its design capacity. If the fare structure is kept low, many from Railway system may migrate to Metro but that will not necessarily attract car users since the Metro travel will not provide exclusivity, privacy and insulation from ambient air and noise pollution and sadly to state, “common” people. On the other hand, keeping the fare structure high may attract motorcar users of certain degree of affluence to some extent but not too many who are more affluent than these. However, it is definite that majority of the desired number of Railway users will not migrate. Whatever fare structure, one thing appears certain that the overcrowding in Railway system is not likely to diminish significantly and also that the road congestion will continue to exist albeit in slightly improved shortlived state. The Road public transport is also unlikely to improve because of poor migration of car users and continued vehicular road congestion.

Let us visualize a system that meets demands of safe, comfortable, rapid and even somewhat travel with exclusivity, denying no one opportunity to avail of mobility thus provided. In a democratic society, every road crossing if provided with an FOB, it must be provided with escalators. People with arthritic, cardiac or pulmonary ailments are not insignificant in numbers. Lifts are integral to provide mobility to persons with disability.

Most Latin Americas and many Asian countries including China have opted for BRTS to solve commuting problems generated by use of motor Vehicles.Table C compares some possible alternative combinations of articulated buses, their capacities and headways and their expected performance.