Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India's first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi Metro's Magenta Line today through a video conference. Further, the National Common Mobility Card has been expanded to the Airport Express Line of Delhi Metro, which was started in Ahmedabad last year.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister lamented that a few decades ago, when the demand of urbanisation was felt, not much attention was given to the needs of the future. He also said that urbanisation should not be seen as a challenge, but should be used as an opportunity to build better infrastructure in the country, an opportunity through which we can enhance ease of living.
He informed that in 2014, only 5 cities had metro rail but today, it is available in 18 cities. “By 2025, we are going to expand it to more than 25 cities. In 2014, only 248 km of metro lines were operational in the country but today it is about three times, more than 700 kilometres. By the year 2025, we are trying to expand it to 1700 km,” he asserted.
The PM remarked that the government formulated the metro policy for the first time and implemented it with an all-round strategy. Emphasis was on working according to local demand, promoting local standards, ‘Make in India' expansion and use of modern technology.
He also listed different types of metro rail on which work is being carried out. On the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) between Delhi and Meerut, he mentioned that it will reduce the distance between two cities to less than an hour.
He further notified that is being done on the MetroLite version in cities where passenger numbers are less. This would be constructed at 40% cost of normal metro.
He further added that Metro Neo is being worked in cities where the ridership is less. It would be built at 25% cost of the normal metro.
“Similarly, water metro would be out-of-the-box thinking. For cities where there are large water bodies, the water metro is now being worked on. This will provide last-mile connectivity to the people near the islands,” he said.
Modi also mentioned that ‘Make in India' is important for the expansion of metro services. It reduces costs, saves foreign exchange and gives more employment to people in the country itself.
He also stressed that standardisation of rolling stock has reduced the cost of every coach from 12 crores to 8 crores now.
“Today, four big companies are manufacturing metro coaches in the country and dozens of companies are engaged in the manufacture of metro components. This is helping Make in India as well as the campaign for self-reliant India,” Modi said.
Talking about the Metro Rail without a driver, he said, “Our country has joined the select countries of the world where such facilities are available. A braking system in which 50 percent of the energy goes back into the grid when the brakes are applied is being used. Today, 130 MW of solar power is being used in metro rail, which will be increased to 600 MW.”
Regarding the Common Mobility Card, he said that this one card will give integrated access to the commuters wherever they travel, whichever public transport they take.