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Currently, in India, 10 cities have a functioning Metro rail system and five are under construction. A Metro signifies that a city has arrived. It is a modern speedy mass transit system that lifts up the image of a city and makes it feel like it is a ‘Smart City’.
Many cities are still vying to seek clearance from the Central government for Metro rail projects. The Metro has some definite advantages, such as being cheaper and more energy-efficient than private transport.
But is it the answer to urban India’s mobility problems and does it serve a majority of the population?
Some transport experts believe that Metros are white elephants sucking public money dry. An effective Metro system needs a good feeder bus service to transport passengers from the station to their homes. It needs security personnel inside the vehicle and around the station, real estate to construct stations, personnel to keep the stations looking good and modern ticket counters.
The much-touted eco-friendliness of mass transit does not take into account the ecological damage caused during the construction phase, which increases atmospheric dust manifold.
There are social implications, as hundreds of poor families are displaced to some corner of the city because their settlement came in the way of a Metro line. Can everyone afford the Metro? A 10-km one-way ride in Delhi and Kolkata would be Rs 10, in Chennai, Bengaluru, and Lucknow about Rs 30 and in Mumbai as high as Rs 60.
This article first appeared on urbantransportnews.com
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