Delhi Metro to Join Global Elite Urban Network Club by 2020

There’s great news for citizens of Delhi. The state government has given the go ahead for launching Phase-IV of the Delhi Metro that will see the metro rail network add another 106 km to existing lines and take the service to outer areas of Delhi including Narela, Bawana, parts of Old Delhi and also offer alternate connectivity to Terminal – 1 at the airport.

Expected to be complete by end 2020, Phase-IV will also see Delhi Metro extend its total rail network length to 457 km surpassing the world’s oldest metro  – the London Metro.

Despite suggestions by some local MLAs to make minor alterations to the Detailed Project Report submitted to Delhi Government by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the report was accepted and approved without any changes.

The Ministry of Urban Development will now have to give the final clearance before DMRC can float tenders for project execution to begin.

The six new corridors under Phase – IV are:

  • Janakpuri (West) – RK Ashram: 28.92 km; Stations: 26
  • Tughlakabad – Terminal 1 Airport: 22.20 km; Stations: 16
  • Rithala – Narela: 21.73 km; Stations: 15
  • Inderlok – Indraprastha: 12.57 km; 10
  • Mukundpur – Maujpur: 12.54 km; Stations: 7
  • Lajpat Nagar – Saket G-Block: 7.96 km; Stations: 6

Click here : Delhi Metro Phase 4 Map

Of the 106 km planned in this Phase-IV, 35 km will be underground and 71 km will be elevated. This phase is expected to cost Rs 55,000 crore and when completed, is expected to carry 15 lakh passengers daily.

Operational and planned network

  • Phase 1 & II: 190 km with 15 lakh daily ridership (213 km is presently operational)
  • Phase III: 160.57 km with total expected ridership at 48 lakh daily
  • Phase IV: 106 km with total expected ridership at 63 lakh daily
  • Total length at the end of Phase IV: 456.57 km

Delhi Metro setting the benchmark

While Kolkata Metro holds the distinction for introducing India’s first metro, it is the Delhi Metro that is setting standards for other upcoming metros in India to follow.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has set global standards in project execution at costs and timelines that makes it one of the most low-cost and efficient metro networks anywhere in the world. So much so that several developing countries are now seeking DMRC’s intervention either for consulting or turnkey project execution.

When Delhi Metro was first conceived, few really believed that it could offer low-cost travel and yet emerge profitable. Today, Delhi Metro has shown the way by controlling costs through efficient design, material selection, on-time supply, close contractor supervision and on-time project execution, all of which have contributed in Delhi Metro setting standards in execution and operation not seen previously in the country.

Other reasons for success

Metro rail travel will be welcomed in any city where traffic congestion has become a serious problem. However, for any metro to be truly effective it requires an efficient network of multi-modal transport which includes buses, autos, taxis, trams, and regular rail lines, all of which are seamlessly integrated and offer last-mile connectivity to every passenger.

While that is a goal, the cost of undertaking all of them at the same time restricts the number of cities that hold ambitions for mass transportation.

DMRC was clear that if Delhi had to have an efficient mass transportation, other modes of transport had to be integrated. This is still work in progress in Delhi and a lot has yet to be done on this account.

Wide network with maximum inter-change stations

Given its size, Delhi needed not just multiple metro corridors but its success depended on ‘inter-change’ facilities where a passenger could reach from any one point in the city’s metro to another with only one inter-change.

Delhi Metro’s efficiency was restricted at the end Phase-I & II on account of only 9 inter-change stations. This restricted efficient passenger movement and increased dependency on other modes of transport.

After Phase-III, the number of inter-change stations will increase to 27, and after Phase – IV is completed at the end of 2020, Delhi will have a total of 41 inter-change stations. This will cement its place in the country as the most efficiently designed metro network in the country, while providing seamless movement for large number of passengers.

This is where Delhi stands out from any other rail metro projects that are coming up in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Pune, Ludhiana and Lucknow.

Project delays in other metros

The other cities have taken initial but welcome steps towards introducing metro rail services that will come as a boon to their transport frameworks. But if the service has to be truly efficient, more corridors will have to come up over a period and its success will lie in the planning and number of inter-change stations.

Most metro projects in other cities are today running behind time and cost schedules. This has been mostly due to land acquisition problems, changes made to routes due to political intervention and delays in funds release.

Delhi Metro being a flagship project for the country, it has had to face minimal problems in land acquisition and where objections were raised, they have been quickly resolved through state and Centre’s intervention.

It was further helped by the fact that fund availability and release has not been a problem, unlike other upcoming metros, where timely release of funds has been one of the major hurdles.

In other states, local politics has forced the state governments to go slow in politically sensitive areas where local people have objected to metro’s land acquisition either due to inadequate compensation offered or lack of alternate accommodation by the state government.

Passenger experience – the ultimate benchmark

While overall experience for daily commuters on Delhi Metro has been satisfactory, overcrowding and technical glitches has impacted the metro’s reputation of late.

More rakes are being introduced to increase train frequency and more stations are being converted to ‘smart card’ gate access options. All of these, along with more corridors coming up will surely improve the daily travel experience for commuters in Delhi.

One will have to wait and see how other metros measure up to Delhi’s standards.

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