If the future of travel were 'air-powered' cars, Delhi would be hard put to figure as its ideal location in India. Yet, if all goes to plan, the Capital may get its first pod city car, in about two years from now.
The transport department plans to introduce the system in Vasant Kunj - Delhi's upmarket residential colony - which does not have a robust public transport system.
Vasant Kunj, said officials privy to the detailed project report, was chosen from a list of 20 sites in Delhi that require a para-transit system.
Officials believe Vasant Kunj is the best location where a facility like pod cars would be highly successful.
Delhi has seen a steady change in the profile of its public transport - all for the better. In December 2002, the introduction of the Metro changed the way people commuted in the national Capital. And in June 2008 came the first set of swank, cherry-coloured air-conditioned buses, which reposed Delhiites' faith in public transport.
Now, it's the turn of pod cars - small, personalised, pilot-less taxis, which ply either on rails or are suspended from an elevated track - to further buttress public transport in the burgeoning metropolis.
With a carrying capacity of 4,000-5,000 passengers per hour, per direction, at a speed of 40-70km an hour - with each ride costing about Rs6-8 per kilometre per passenger - it is best suited for an area like Vasant Kunj.
"The system is suitable for a locality where people have paying capacity. It will not only serve as a local transport system within the Vasant Kunj area, but will also act as a feeder service to the Metro network at Andheria Morh (Central Secretariat Line) and Vasant Vihar (Janakpuri-Noida Line)," a senior official said.
Senior officials said companies like UK-based Ultra Fairwood Limited - which are conducting a study for the project in Gurgaon - and MISTER Personal Rapid Transit System have already stated their intention to construct and operate the system in Delhi. "We have shortlisted a UK-based company. The feasibility study will start soon," an official said.