Mumbai: The country’s first Monorail service will commence operations next month on the 8.9km Wadala-Chembur section in the central-eastern suburbs of the metropolis after a delay of over two years.

The monorail service will be inaugurated on 1 February by Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan here and the commercial operations will begin from the next day, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) chief U.P.S. Madan told reporters here on Thursday.

The 3,000 crore mono rail project is being implemented in two phases. The first phase comprises the 8.9 km long Wadala-Chembur section, which will be thrown open to the public on Saturday while in the second phase the services will be extended to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk in south Mumbai.

The authority has fixed fares between 5-11 for the first phase of operations, he said adding that MMRDA will operate six trains in the first phase, and another 10 will be added in the second phase.

To begin with, the services will operate with four coaches having a combined carrying capacity of 2,300 passengers at every 15 minutes, Madan said. “We aim to provide a service at every four minutes going forward," he said.

The monorail project has been executed by a consortium of engineering firm Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Malaysian firm Scomi Engineering and owned and operated by MMRDA.

The monorail is expected to reduce the travel time between Wadala and Chembur by almost half, from 40 minutes at present to nearly 21 minutes. MMRDA has already spent 1,900 crore of the 3,000 crore allocated for the project, said Madan, adding, “the civil work on the second phase of the project has been completed."