Elevated Rail Corridor only till Bandra will be ‘Unviable’ – RITES

Bandra बांद्रा (BA):  The state government’s suggestion that the Western Railway (WR) elevated corridor be terminated at Bandra may make the project unviable because of low commuter volume.

After a meeting of the chief minister and the PM in November last year about the elevated corridor project, which was stuck because of differences among the railways, the Planning Commission and the state government, a study on passenger projections was commissioned. The reason was that Metro III was to partially run on the same alignment as the initially planned elevated corridor.

“The study was of passenger volume projections if the elevated corridor was allowed to operate only between Virar and Bandra,” said a state government official. “WR commissioned Rail India Technical And Economic Services (RITES), a consultancy arm of the railways, to carry out the study. RITES was also asked to ascertain the drop in passenger numbers owing to the elevated corridor running alongside Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) and Metro II (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd).”  The existing WR corridor has a ridership (passenger volume) of 35 lakh people per day. The study estimates the ridership of the Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor as 9 lakh passengers per day at 2013 levels.

“This figure was arrived at after it was estimated that around 50% of first-class passengers and 20% of second-class passengers will shift to the elevated corridor. Effectively, this translates into a 23% commuter shift from the existing WR corridor,” said an official.

But the ridership figure for a Virar-Bandra elevated corridor at 2013 levels is estimated at 5.50 lakh passengers per day, said a source. “The loss in ridership is estimated to be 40%, which will make the project financially unviable.”