Despite starting work on the second phase of the Rapid Metro, which is likely to be completed by the end of the year, the service has not been able to become a viable alternative to public transport for the city residents.
The Rapid Metro was expected to provide connectivity to locals and office goers beyond Cyber Hub, Udyog Vihar and in DLF colonies, but it seems the focus has remained on a particular part of the city.
A majority of the city residents and commuters don’t see the Rapid Metro as a viable alternative to their needs.
Also, the service might run into financial problems. Because of lack of funds, the third phase of the Rapid Metro, from Moulsari Avenue to Old Delhi-Gurgaon Road, might not take off.
The Haryana government’s reluctance to provide Viability Gap Fund (VGF) -- which is 40% of the project cost, estimated to be around `3,000 crore -- is the main reason for the slowdown of the Rapid Metro expansion project.
The overhaul of the Golf Course Road and its expansion into 16 lanes has also delayed the second phase.
Also, support from corporate houses, which had assured to provide ridership, has been inadequate. There aren’t many commuters opting for the Rapid Metro, which has put the viability of the service in question.
Though the corporates had promised to discontinue cab services for employees in Cyber Hub – in order to prompt them to take the rapid metro – this has not been done.
The government, too, is yet to come true on its promise to discontinue shared autos and private vehicles on the Rapid Metro route.
Professor Sewa Ram from School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, says that government agencies run transport services across the world. “It is difficult for private players to run mass transport services,” he said.
Rapid Metro authorities, however, are confident that after the completion of the second phase, the service will have a better reach.
The Rapid Metro will have a total track length of 12.1km (5.1 for Phase I and 7 for Phase II) and will run 12 trains. “We are extending our footprints towards the Golf Course Road with our South Extension project, which will link Sikanderpur to Golf Course Road. The project is estimated to be completed by the end of 2016,” said Rajiv Banga, CEO, Rapid Metro.
In addition, a number of programmes are being launched to engage with commuters. Shuttle services to the Golf Course are already running, Banga said.
While Banga and his team are working hard to ensure that this service becomes a commuter’s first choice, a lot more still needs to be done.