More Trouble for Metro Rail in Indian Cities

delhi metro green line new delhi india

The Metro rail network is failing miserably in different cities. In Bangalore steps to check the falling ridership of Namma Metro are not helping. Its daily pass scheme too has drawn poor response. In a city of millions, only four people bought a three day pass costing Rs 400 on April 5. With the pass you can travel any number of times on the Metro.

In Mumbai in the new Metro line the response is so poor, one can count on one’s fingers the number of commuters in the compartment or in the station. I noticed that myself.

The Metro authorities everywhere have been claiming that Metro will bring down car use. But car use is increasing rapidly and this is very depressing, says D.T. Devare, a transport activist from Bangalore and corporate executive, who prefers to use public transport to his car. Sadly, even bus use is falling in Bangalore.

So Bangalore , despite the Metro, is becoming more congested . Part of the reason is the craze for cars. In the IT information technology industry high pay right from the beginning of the career is pushing up car sales. Then people start buying new cars after three to four years, they go for bigger size cars causing more congestion. They are spoiling the countryside and hill stations. Mr Devare said because of heavy car traffic roads are being widened in hill station areas and trees are being cut adding to the environment crisis.

Sadly, corporate companies give incentives to employees to buy cars. The Central government’s urban affairs ministry has in a circular asked state governments to promote non motorized transport and reduce car use but this is more in the nature of lip service.

Kochi is going through a very difficult stage in terms of transportation facilities. When the fuel prices are going up, private buses are going off the road and, at the same time, Kochi Metro trains, launched on the most saturated route, are not able to attract the passengers who stopped taking the buses, says a report.

In effect, the city is getting congested with private vehicles and the traffic chaos is increasing as the days go by. A lesson learnt from the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) city circular services is that the state-run bus service can be effective with public cooperation, city residents say.

According to advocate Ebenser C L, who is also the founder of Kochi Metro Passengers Forum, after the introduction of the metro, almost 400 city buses had gone off the road since they were running in parallel with the metro services. Due to the higher ticket rate, these passengers did not shift directly to the metro, instead, they opted for two-wheelers.

“Around 65% of the vehicles in the city are two-wheelers and only 1% are buses. If we go like this, within two years, the entire bus (stage carriage) sector will be wiped out. We need to reorganise the bus sector to the east-west corridor and complement both metro and bus sectors. This is done in Mumbai and they have better ridership than what is projected. is . . A bus aggregator platform must be the next big thing in Kochi. Just like a taxi, car or auto, you should be able to book a bus using a mobile app. This will bring quality service at affordable prices,” he added. ( New Indian Express 29 March, 2022.)

Rashmi Sadana , is a U.S. based academic and author of a recent book Metronama on the Delhi Metro. She is a fan of the Delhi Metro but says it makes more sense to invest in a world class bus system than in Metro. The required investment in buses would be far lower

Every good observer will tell you that too.

But the average person unaware of economics and other issues is fascinated by the Metro. Of course, it is modern and sleek and clean. And I did enjoy the ride in the Mumbai Metro as I have done elsewhere. We do not see the downside of the Metro in Mumbai.

But there are major issues.

Sarika Panda Bhatt, a transport activist, while participating in a discussion on the Delhi Metro book said many more people in Delhi travel by bus and auto rickshaws and other modes of transport than the Metro. But the government is obsessed with the Metro , a white elephant.

The bus can take you anywhere, we need a denser network of buses. The Metro is rigid.

And there are multiple contradictions. There are areas in Gurgaon where the Metro goes above a 16 lane highway full of cars and there is no space for walking for people.

Below the Metro are areas in Okhla where one sees of people queuing for jugs of water from a water tanker. So we have a world class Metro and we are ignoring the basics.

It is not enough to have a posh Metro. It needs to have at least presentable, tolerable supporting network. For years and years our callous authorities are humiliating people by totally neglecting infrastructure for people. This morning in Mumbai I saw a completely broken down bus stop on the Western express highway not far from the office of MMRDA or the Thackeray mansion in Kalanagar.

Multiply this by thousands and lakhs of cases and you get a real picture when it comes to the lot of common people.

Yet, the BEST can do a wonderful job when it wants to going to far off corners of Mumbai. I saw today a bus plying from Sion right upto the far end of Mumbai, Mira Bhayandar past the Western Express highway covering a distance of more than 30 km.

It also covers many of the stations of the newly opened Metro from Aarey station in Goregaon to Kurar and Dahisar. A bus can often do a far better job than Metro. It can take you to all corners unlike the Metro. But there is not much money to be made by the corrupt sections in this segment. They can in a Metro network on a much bigger scale.

About Sadana’s book, from different accounts , one gets the impression that it is more about her sensory experiences having fun in the Metro, finding so many women there, chatting with them.

Vidyadhar Date is a senior journalist and author of a book Traffic in the era of climate change. Walking, cycling, public transport need priority

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