With the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) receiving four bids for the launch of pod taxis or the personal rapid transport system in Gurgaon, the project is inching closer to reality.
The project, announced in 2009, remained in a limbo for several years but the recent push by the Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari seems to have given it a new lease of life. And if things go as planned, NHAI officials say the work could start in September this year once the financial and technical bids are scrutinized and the contract is awarded.
The four bidders for the project include Metrino PRT, Sky Dran, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited and Neel Metal Products Limited.
In the pilot phase, the Pod taxi project will start from Rajokari border on the expressway and reach Rajiv Chowk. From there it would take a detour to Subash Chowk towards Sohna Road and is likely to conclude at Badshahpur Chowk. The proposed length is 12.3 km and it would be built on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis (DBFOT).
Pod taxi is a personal transport system for cities where land is at premium and it involves pods suspended from an overhead rail. Each pod can carry 5 to 6 commuters and the entire system is powered by electricity. The tentative cost of the project is `850 crore.
While the project is still in the initial phase, Ashok Sharma, who is the project director of the Delhi Gurgaon expressway says that they have started preparing the ground for early launch and execution of the project.
“A request for proposal to transfer the much-needed land for setting up pod stations has already been made by the NHAI to the Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) and other agencies. Most of the Right of Way for this project is under our control so developing it would be easier,” said Sharma.
The four bids that have been received by the NHAI are qualification bids that would be evaluated as per the NHAI norms and thereafter a Request for Proposal would be called from the bidders.
This bid will include financial bid, time period, construction plan and the concession period required by the developer. “An agreement between the NHAI and the MCG is on the cards for the pod taxi project as the permission for running such a system can only be given by the municipal corporation under the Trams Act,” Sharma said.
The stations covered in the first phase are Ambience Mall, Cyber City, Jwala Mill Chowk, Atlas Chowk, near Heritage City, Iffco Chowk, Iffco Chowk near Crown plaza, near Signature Tower, Jharsa Road , Jharsa Road towards Ch Bakhtawar Singh Road , near Rajiv Chowk, near Tau Devi Lal Stadium, near Islampur Village , near Sadar police station , near Central Park, near Casabella Garde, near Dr Amebdkar Bhawan at Badshahpur Chowk.