Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Here comes the Mumbai Monorail

H of the A to Z Challenge

I woke up this Sunday all excited. I was after all finally going to take a ride in the first Mumbai Monorail today!  I know I speak of it as a joy ride instead of something that should be more of a commute, but well, ever since its inception, almost a lakh people were found to be taking joyrides on weekends and I was just one of them!  For a paltry Rs 11, one could take a ride all the way from Chembur to Wadala in the monorail that snaked its way from its elevated tracks offering views that ranged from the refinery, the eastern freeway, to quiet neighborhoods and unfortunately, also slum colonies. It was little wonder that people came from far and wide through Mumbai to take a ride in this much touted mode of transport.

Much has been said about the route selected for the first monorail in Mumbai – Chembur to Wadala, and how mostly useless it will be.  However, people do need to understand that this route will be extended to South Bombay to the hub of several office areas.  With enough slums all over Mumbai, there must have been only a few pockets where they could actually clear out the slums or buildings and create infrastructure for the monorail.  That being said, I agree, that the current route to Wadala may not be that useful for a lot of commuters, but at the same time, it has connected several areas of Chembur that were previously far off from any station for local trains.

I went early in the morning at around 9:00 a.m. to avoid the crowds and get a quick entry and skip those winding queues that I had previously seen  at later times snaking down the stairways spilling on to the roads.  My bags were checked, I was frisked and I could enter the swanky station onto the ticketing line.  Tickets were in the form of tokens that one needed to swipe at the entry point and save through the journey and return at exit.  I guess, all these security measures will work for now, but once the real commuter crowds swell, I doubt if this time consuming model of checking, frisking and ticketing will work if the crowds swell to the level of local train stations.

More security greeted us at the platform as they guided the passengers to stand back and safely. A delightful pink hued monorail train soon arrived and we entered it. It had pink interiors, a few seats and was air conditioned. Wide windows ensured we got a lovely view too.  Most, if not all passengers were in high spirits excited to be in the monorail as everyone scrambled to be near the windows. But on the whole, it was fairly orderly inside. 

On the whole I enjoyed it and I don’t have complaints. Only, I wonder why there aren’t any benches on the station? After all, a 15 minute frequency for a train is quite tiring!

Being a resident of a neighboring area, I also wonder why the work has been done so haphazardly at the station – There are two half-finished stairways that lead to nowhere in the middle of the road that as it is has so little area to walk on being encroached on both sides.

I think the security measures are a must, but I wonder how long they will be sustainable.  I hope though that people are civil enough and take pride in this new mode of transport and desist from disfiguring it with paan-stains, graffiti, and disfiguring the monorail infrastructure in any way even without the security.

I look forward to the second phase of the Monorail that will extend to Jacob Circle and will finally be more useful as a commute to many more people.

A few pictures from the journey –
The Monorail map

A cricketing view from the train

As I took a photo of the taxi on the eastern freeway, the person in the taxi took one of the monorail!

Imax Dome as seen from the monorail



The inevitable slum view

Finally, the monorail itself!

Swanky station


  1. I am yet to experience the monorail ride.The eastern freeway & now the monorail hasensured that the harbour side of Mumbai has arrived !

  2. nice..hope to take a trip on it soon. I have always traveled by local trains in Mumbai and an upgrade sounds good.

  3. Oh how exciting. A monorail in Mumbai - will be on my things to do when I next visit. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow. It does look good. Thanks richa for sharing this

  5. This is very exciting to read about as you have described it! Love your really excellent photos, as well. They are so fascinating! Thanks for a great post! jean

  6. So far removed from the crowded locals

  7. What a great experience. The tokens are cool!

  8. Indeed Mumbai Monorail is enjoyable as of now. However, I found its speed is quite slow. May be due to many curves/turns in the route ( some even of 90 degrees). The stations and especially entrances are quite clean and neat and hope Mumbaikars keep it that way.
    At Dubai Metro, they have the season ticket facility wherein one does not have to purchase a ticket everytime and just scanning of the season ticket is required. As of now 99% of the commuters are with the purpose of experiencing the thrill of riding an elevated and air conditioned rail. Real serious commuters will start using it once the project is completed.
    Hope Mono's 'cousin' Mumbai Metro also starts chugging soon.

  9. About time. India needs fast and sleek public transports like this, what with all those choked up roads. By the way, you have managed to capture really cute shots, representative of the state our country is in.