Commuters living in the Vasai-Virar and Mira-Bhayandar areas can look forward to more avenues of public transport with light rail systems or tramways now being planned for the region.Tramways are being considered for the smaller cities around Mumbai by planners at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to solve acute transport problems cropping up in these areas. Trams are being seen as a viable supplement to buses for intra-city travel on the outskirts of the Mumbai metropolitan region.
MMRDA planners say tramways are relatively cheaper to install than other modes of transport and do not need much except a wide road.
This is not too difficult to get in these new areas. Under the plan envisaged for the development of townships like Vasai, Virar, Thane, Kalyan and Bhiwandi, transport infrastructure development would receive a boost if the plan is taken up.
“Trams are certainly on the cards for such areas, mainly because of the cost factor. It’s cheaper to set up such systems—they come at 25% of the cost of a Metro,’’ said MMRDA commissioner T Chandrashekhar.
Incidentally, tramways were in use in the city of Mumbai till the mid-1960s. They were taken off because they were too slow and obstructed road traffic.
Planners said the tramways being talked about now would be modern light rail systems with the latest technology. They would not be the slow-moving vehicles of yesteryear.
Trams are even being considered for reintroduction in Mumbai. Maharashtra’s secretary, special projects, Sanjay Ubale is among those who feel that trams could be used in certain sections of the city.
A team of experts including transport consultant Beena Balakrishnan were sent to Kolkata recently to study trams and their effect on the city’s transport infrastructure.
Balakrishnan said tramways could be used for mass transport and favoured their use in areas around Mumbai.