Moving around Delhi can be a test of nerves. Its packed buses are creaking under the weight of the ever-increasing population of the city. Its autorickshaw drivers can drive you nuts, if not to your destination, by quoting outrageously exorbitant fare. The Metro does come as a breath of fresh air, but, clearly, it alone cannot meet the transport demands of the metropolis trying desperately to keep pace with times.
Keeping this in mind city planners have drawn up a plan for an integrated, multi-modal public transport system in Delhi. The earliest target is the Commonwealth Games but the vision is to have a sort of a master plan on transport up to the year 2021.
So in near future you won’t have to dash toward the buses along with a dozen other impatient passengers or haggle with the moody autowallah. Besides Metro, you will have integrated rail bus transport, monorail, High Capacity Buse Syatem. Even the poor cousin of public transport, the Delhi Transport Corporation, will be upgraded. Plan is to phase out DTC buses in four years with low-floor modern buses. “We have started in a big way and the next few years will see a sea change in the way people commute in the city,” says Delhi Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf. If he can pull it off, people would soon leave their personal vehicles at home and hop on to the new transport facilities.
Sample this: the High Capacity Bus System, the one pioneered by Bogota, capital of Colombia, will run on the pattern of the much-acclaimed Metro. You can get a taste of it next year. The first phase of the project from Ambedkar Nagar to Delhi Gate has already started and is expected to be completed by March 2008. And by 2009, it city may have a network of 107 km of this system.
Then there will be monorail. To be used as a feeder to the Metro service, these would run in congested localities where the Metro cannot possibly reach. Perched atop pillars, Delhiites could move around smoothly in areas like Chandni Chowk, Karol Bagh and cramped pockets of east Delhi, where even venturing on foot can be a struggle. The government is in the process of finalising the deal to start the project anytime now.
Nothing like Metro
The icing on the cake will undoubtedly be the Metro. The ultimate aim is to provide one Metro station within one km of every home in Delhi. Metro will also be the prime link to the NCR townships. Metro lines are planned to Anand Vihar, close to Uttar Pradesh border, Gurgaon in Haryana and Badarpur border on way to Faridabad.
“As the network expands, the dependence on the system will only grow. This is a world-class facility of which the residents of the city can be truly proud of,” said Yusuf, who has travelled on most tube networks of the world.
Do you get the picture? In a two-stat conclusion, the public transport network of the future will consist of the Metro rail covering about 250 km and medium-capacity modes, such as the High Capacity Bus System, monorail and the light rail, covering 500 km.
Simply put this means, once this network is fully operational, you will not have to venture beyond 500 m of wherever you are in the city to find a public transport.