Metropolitan cities today are characterised by high population density and overcrowded roads. Expansion of metro lines in these cities has been instrumental in reducing road traffic while providing environment-friendly, fast, comfortable and affordable transit solutions. Mumbai’s Metro Line 3 (MML 3) is one such example. It has been planned to connect the busiest areas of the city, between Cuffe Parade and the Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone (SEEPZ), thereby reducing the load on the bus system and suburban local trains. At present, suburban trains carry a passenger load of 5,000 each against the designed capacity of 1,750. MML 3 is expected to reduce this load by at least 15 per cent.
The metro system in Mumbai was conceptualised in 2004, when it was proposed to be developed in three phases. Of these, Phase I comprising three lines is currently under implementation. Line 1 of Phase I, connecting Versova to Ghatkopar and covering a stretch of 11.4 km, has been operationalised, while Line 2, connecting Dahisar to Mankhurd covering 39.5 km, is under implementation.
The last line of Phase I, MML 3, is being implemented by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC). The 33.5 km long MML 3 will be implemented at an estimated cost of Rs 290 billion. Of the total project cost, the Japan International Cooperation Agency is providing financial assistance worth Rs 132.35 billion while the remaining funds will be provided by the central and state governments and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL). The project will comprise 26 underground stations, one station at-grade and a car depot in Aarey Milk Colony in Goregaon East. In addition, three stations, at the domestic airport, Sahar Road and the international airport, will be financed and constructed by MIAL.
Expected to be fully operational by 2020, the line will be commissioned in three phases. In the first phase, the route between SEEPZ and the Bandra-Kurla Complex will be commissioned in June 2019, followed by the line up to the Science Museum in December 2019, and the final stretch up to Cuffe Parade by April 2020.
Reduction in traffic
Once operational, MML 3 will enable the reduction of footfalls at the Churchgate, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Mumbai Central and Mahalakshmi suburban train stations. Moreover, the metro line will bring about a 35 per cent reduction in traffic in these areas, translating to 450,000 vehicles per day.
MML 3 is to be constructed with facilities such as escalators/elevators, secured platforms, platform screen doors and CCTV coverage to ensure greater comfort and safety of passengers. Entry into the metro stations will be possible from both sides of the roads to avoid the inconvenience of crossing the roads or foot overbridges. In order to minimise energy wastage, trains on MML 3 are designed to use 40 per cent regenerative energy which is generated during braking for captive use. This is likely to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 100,000 tonnes per annum.
In October 2015, MMRC shortlisted six consortiums for the construction of seven packages of the project. In December 2015, pre-qualification bids were invited for the installation of rolling stock. The scope of the work includes design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 35 trains with six coaches each for the project. The estimated cost of procuring the rolling stock is expected to be Rs 20 billion. Bids have also been invited for installing electrical systems for operating the underground corridor. The electrical systems will have a 25 kV alternating current traction system which will enable the metro to operate at a speed of 95 km per hour.
To conclude, by providing connectivity to the busiest areas of Mumbai, MML 3 will facilitate significant reduction in travel time. According to estimates, the travel time between Cuffe Parade and the international airport will get reduced by almost 50 minutes. Further, by shifting from private to public transport, there will be the additional benefit of reduced fuel consumption. About 250,000 litres of fuel per day is expected to be saved, and the project will result in reduced noise and air pollution.