Mumbai’s very first metro line was declared open at 10.16 am when Maharashtra Chief Minister took the first ride from Versova station to Ghatkopar.
The inauguration took place with much uncertainty as Mr Chavan had threatened to boycott it the day before, protesting against Reliance Infrastructure’s decision to unilaterally increase fares. However, he ended up taking the very first metro – decorated with flowers – with much fanfare along with Reliance Chairman Anil Ambani and Tina Ambani.
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Mr Chavan had threatened to skip the inauguration because it was decided to peg the fares from Rs 9 to Rs 13 in the concession agreement. However, RInfra upped the bracket to Rs 10 to Rs 40 under the Metro Act.
He agreed to come after the Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd introduced a promotional fare of Rs 10 for the first month. "The matter is in court. The order is likely to come on Monday," said Mr Chavan.
The 11.40 km long corridor Versova-Andheri-Ghakopar is likely to cut travel time by an hour. It takes 21 minutes to go from one end of the western suburb to the other.
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People who had been waiting with bated breath for seven years while the metro was in the making, gathered and stood in queue. The line was officially thrown open at 1 pm. At the metro stations, sniffer dogs were posted near the metal detectors. Commuters' bags were checked before they could enter the platform.
There was confusion as first-time travellers were trying to find their way around, looking for entry and exit points, giggling on elevators, trying to rush inside the metro before the doors shut. Personnel at the station were seen helping with smiles, answering all the queries.
"This is the first time I've seen something so swanky. The experience was great. There are times when you're so high over the ground that one gets scared. The curves are also lovely. It feels like one is on a ride at an amusement park," said 20-year-old Adil Shaikh who purchased a Rs 10 ticket and came with his friends.