Mumbai Monorail passing through a congested residential area/Reuters
Mumbai has become the first Indian city to get a monorail. The 8.8 km monorail line that connects Wadala in central Mumbai with Chembur in suburban Mumbai has come six years after the idea was first put forth. However, a simple Twitter post has opened up a public debate on how effecient the monorail is going to be as a mass mode of transport in Mumbai.
A sum of ₹1,100 crore has been spent so far on India's first monorail but will it really address the daily travel needs of a city that boasts of over 12 million population.
Each monrail train has four coaches with a carrying capacity of about 560 people. In contrast, the Mumbai suburban train, which has the capacity to carry 1,500 people, eventually carries 8,500. And official figures note that the Mumbai suburban railway handles 7.24 million passenger traffic daily.
The Twitter post shows an overcrowded monorail, and with no space left, hundreds of passengers have climbed up on top of the coaches. The Twitter meme, in a way, is a real picture of what often happens in India, especially on train routes bound towards the countryside. Such over-crowding instances have also been seen on Mumbai suburban railways.
Overcrowding in Indian trains
The overcrowding in monorail gains interest mainly because in Mumbai suburban trains, the present reality is such that tourists are advised against travelling by trains due to the heavy rush in evenings. The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the second busiest rapid transit system in the world with an annual ridership of 2.64 billion, and hence it faces the most severe overcrowding in the world.
Here are some pictures of overcrowding in Indian trains:
Hindu devotees travel in an overcrowded passenger train after taking a holy dip and offering prayers in the waters of Brahma Sarovar, a sacred pond, during a solar eclipse in the northern Indian city of Kurukshetra July 22, 2009/Reuters
Passengers travel in an overcrowded train in the eastern Indian city of Patna February 23, 2010/Reuters
Twitter reactions to monorail overcrowding
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