By Shashank Rao and Vedika Chaubey www.mid-day.com
Mumbaikars have embraced the newly opened Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro in huge numbers, having finally got a mode of transport that doesn’t take them hours to cross the suburban divide. Their new preference has cost BEST and auto rickshaws dearly.
Over 5 lakh people have travelled by the Metro since it was inaugurated on Sunday, and there has been considerable drop in the number of users of BEST buses and auto rickshaws. Sources in the BEST said that at least 11,000 of its daily commuters between Versova and Ghatkopar have seem to have abandoned it in favour of the Metro.
There are more than 20 different bus routes both from Andheri bus stations (west and east) and Ghatkopar. Many of these bus routes were seen to be running empty even during the morning and evening peak hours. While authorities feel this isn’t exactly an exodus and that many were just going for a joyride, the undertaking is now thinking of operating feeder routes to make up for the loss.
“Our buses will complement the Metro rail, for which we are assessing the locations from where feeder routes can be operated,” said a BEST official. Authorities estimate the drop in passengers to be at least 25 per cent of the total passengers in and around the Versova-Ghatkopar corridor. More info