Delhi’s Metro trains are set to remain crowded for the next three years as a proposal to procure additional coaches for the popular public transport network has hit a roadblock.
The Delhi government’s transport department that had to clear the proposal has sent the file back to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) with queries about costs and estimated traffic at the time when the new coaches will be rolled out.
DMRC officials said the proposal was sent six months ago before the government returned the file in October.
Delhi transport minister Satyendar Jain didn’t respond to calls and text messages when Hindustan Times sought his response.
“There has already been a cost escalation in these six months. Preparing fresh detailed project reports will take at least a month. We will only be able to place the order for 916 new coaches by next year. This means that crowding will continue till 2019,” said a senior DMRC official.
Though the DMRC will be launching 81 new six-coach trains on its new lines that open next year under the Phase 3 construction project, the existing lines are being swamped by excessive ridership. Following requests from Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the DMRC decided to add two coaches to all its existing trains, mostly during peak hours.
The new coaches are expected to cost Rs 13,000 crore. “If not bought now, this cost will escalate,” said the official.
“After the procurement is complete, all metro trains on the existing network will have eight coaches each. In the last three months, the average ridership has been 32 lakh per day,” the official said.