After years of anticipation and missing two deadlines, India's first private metro rail, the Rapid Metro, in Gurgaon is likely to begin its dream run in May.
"We are giving final touches to the project and will be ready to get the tracks inspected by the commissioner of Metro rail safety in April. The services will be thrown open to the public sometime in May," Sanjiv Rai, MD, Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL), promoter of the Rs. 1,088-crore project, told HT on Wednesday.
The Rapid Metro project, the construction of which began in November 2010, was earlier slated to start in January this year but later its launch was pushed to April.
After inspection by the safety commissioner, there will be a 30-day service trial during the month of April to iron out operational issues, if any, before opening it for commuters, added Rai.
Service trials will entail running of all trains sans passengers. The trains are fitted with an Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system that does not necessarily require a human operator to run it.
The three trains that will run on the 6.1-kilometre long intra-city rail loop connecting DLF Cyber City to Delhi Metro's Sikanderpur station have already been put on track.
While there will be a uniform fare of Rs. 15 per trip (irrespective of the distance and number of stations one travels), RMGL is also offering bulk ticketing options on concessional rates to corporates as most of them are likely to use the services for their employees' last mile commuting from the Delhi Metro stations.
Rai said that RMGL is already in talks with nearly 20 companies for bulk ticketing deals.
The Rapid Metro services would also have a twin-ticketing system enabling passengers to use Delhi Metro tokens/smart cards.
He also said that the company is also planning tie-ups with private vendors and the Haryana Roadways to run shuttle services from Udyog Vihar to Rapid Metro stations. Udyog Vihar is an industrial and commercial township across national highway-8 where there is no plan yet to extend the services.
The trains will meander through six stations and boost the last-mile commuting standards for thousands of multi-national corporation executives working in Cyber City area - the hub of IT and BPO companies. However, the station at the DLF Gateway Towers will be opened only in July as land for it was acquired late, said Rai.
RMGL has also proposed to make three skywalks connecting the Rapid Metro stations to office buildings in DLF Cyber City.
Since skywalks were not part of the original plan and only an afterthought, RMGL will study the footfall pattern for a few months before deciding which all buildings will be connected through them.