Mumbai: Technical snag hit the Mumbai Metro on the first day of its operation today. The train, which was flagged off by Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan from the Versova station, was stranded for half an hour at Jagrati Nagar station near Ghatkopar.
“What a disappointing start for Mumbai metro first train from Ghatkopar to Versova delayed. MumbaiMetro,” tweeted a surfer, Vikas Mishra.
The Metro service was inaugurated on Sunday after a delay of three years and nearly double the original cost. In the first phase, which has been opened for public, the train will run between Versova (Western Mumbai) and Ghatkopar (East) route, a distance of 11.5 km.
For now, commuters will pay the inaugural fare ofÂ RsÂ 10 for one month.
The Metro will provide crucial east-west connectivity in a linear and congested city gasping for space and drastically reduce the travel time. It will also connect the eastern and western suburban local train services which run from south Mumbai to the northern suburbs.
But the biggest advantage would be the substantial reduction in travel time from the current 90 minutes to about 20 minutes with the frequency of train at 3.5 minutes.
But ahead of the opening, serious differences had cropped up between the state government and industrialist Anil Ambani led Reliance Infrastructure over the fares.
In September 2013, the government had increased the ticket rates toÂ Rs 9 (up to 3 km),Â Rs 11 (3-8 km) andÂ Rs 13 (over 8 km), as against Reliance Infrastructure’s demand ofÂ RsÂ 22,Â RsÂ 28 andÂ RsÂ 33. But now, Reliance Infrastructure said it wants the fares to be betweenÂ RsÂ 10-40.
The government, however, refused to agree to the demand. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told reporters, “I have agreed to inaugurate the Metro on one condition that the fare must be as specified in the agreement. If fares have to be increased there is a process and it cannot be done arbitrarily like this.”