The pod taxi project is to be delayed further as the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) has terminated the first expression of interest (EOI) it had opened in October 2016 owing to poor response and lack of safety parameters mentioned in the EOI.
Instead, the MCG has decided to appoint a technical advisor in the form of a consulting firm that will assist in its planning and documentation processes.
An EOI, a perquisite for a tender, is used to shortlist potential bidders before finalising detailed bids for a tender. The same was opened by the MCG in October for potential bidders following which a tender was to be floated for the POD taxi project.
The bidder had to be selected based on meeting the technicalities, required criteria and monetary quotation. Some of the technicalities applicable for bidders included a carrying capacity of over 3,000 passengers per hour and running the service at a speed in excess of 100 km/hr.
As per MCG officials, only four firms came forward for the EOI. The Niti Aayog, which was appointed by the Central government in October to oversee the project, then objected to the low number of potential concessionaires and the safety parameters listed in the EOI.
“Safety parameters regarding acceleration, braking points, highest speed, average speed and space between pods were not mentioned in the EOI. Hence, without any specifications and standards, the MCG was directed to terminate the EOI,” a senior official of the Niti Aayog said.
The MCG was then directed by the Centre’s think tank to appoint an advisor who will have the requisite expertise to look after planning and technical aspects of the project.
“The MCG is following Niti Aayog’s direction and is in the process of appointing a technical advisor from a list of shortlisted major consulting firms. Since the MCG does not have the technical expertise, TA (technical advisor) is vital for guidance and execution of the project,” Amit Khatri, additional commissioner of the MCG, said.
The pod taxi project is being built on a ‘design, build, finance, operate and transfer’ basis (DBFOT) and was announced by Union minister Nitin Gadkari in July 2016. During the foundation stone ceremony of an infrastructure project in September, Gadkari had said the construction of the project will commence in three months.
The pod taxi project (also known as personal rapid transport system), in its pilot project will have a 12.3-km track from New Delhi-Haryana border to Subash Chowk via Rajiv Chowk on Sohna Road. It will later be extended to Dhaula Kuan and Manesar on each side during the second phase.