Recent Developments: Urban transport sector picks up pace

Urban transport sector picks up pace

Over the past year, the urban transportation sector in the country has gained significant momentum. Several projects, both in the metro rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) segments, have been opened for public use. Construction activity on key projects has also picked up pace, with several metro projects due for completion in the coming two-three years. Meanwhile, civic agencies are in the process of planning new transport systems.

Indian Infrastructure looks at some of the key developments over the past year…

  • The centre has proposed a new metro rail policy. Among other things, the policy focuses on greater private participation and innovative financing for metro projects. It also has provisions to enhance non-fare revenues for metro rail systems, including feeder systems to increase serviceable areas, etc.
  • For 2016-18, the centre has released a cumulative amount of Rs 299.16 billion towards ongoing metro construction projects. Of this, while Rs 111.53 billion was released and utilised in 2016-17 (till January 30, 2017), Rs 46.51 billion has been utilised in the current fiscal year (till June 30, 2017).
  • During the period January 2016 to July 2017, over 92 km of new metro stretches and 90 km of BRT stretches were completed. In June 2017, the Sampige Road-Yelachenahalli section of the Bengaluru metro, Phase I, was commissioned, marking the commissioning of the entire phase. The line spans a length of 42.3 km and has been developed at a cost of Rs 138 billion. Similarly, Phase II of the Gurgaon Rapid Metro was commissioned in March 2017. The phase spans 7.1 km and entailed an investment of Rs 21.43 billion. Meanwhile, trial runs have commenced on the 6.5 km Shakurpur-Mayapuri section of Corridor 1 under Phase III of the Delhi metro project. In Chennai, two stretches of the metro rail project – the 9 km Little Mount-Chennai airport stretch and the 8 km Thirumangalam-Nehru Park underground stretch – have been commissioned. Two more underground stretches of the Chennai metro, Nehru Park-Chennai Central and Saidapet-AG-DMS, are expected to be commissioned by year-end. Several stretches of the Hyderabad metro rail are also expected to be commissioned soon. Works have been completed on the 12 km Miyapur-S.R. Nagar line and the 8 km Nagole-Raidurg stretch.
  • Meanwhile, Mumbai monorail, Line 1, is expected to be commissioned soon. Civil works on the 10.6 km long stretch have been completed recently, and it is expected to be operational by year-end. At the same time, works on Phase II of the monorail project have also been completed and the project is awaiting safety approvals.
  • In the BRT segment, five key projects spanning a total length of over 90 km were completed over the past year. These are the Amritsar BRT project (31 km), Phase I of the Naya Raipur BRT project (6.59 km), the Yerawada-Wagholi corridor of the Pune BRT (9 km), the Vepagunta-Simhachalam corridor (21.7 km) and the Pendurthi-NAD Junction-Dwarka Nagar corridor (22.6 km) under Phase I of the Visakhapatnam BRT project.
  • Construction works have been taken up on several key metro projects over the past year. For instance, work has commenced on Phase I of the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro project, with works being taken up on the Thaltej Gam-Western Ramp section of the East-West corridor. Meanwhile, works have also commenced on the 9.05 km extension of Chennai metro’s Phase I, the 18.59 km Mumbai metro, Phase I, Line 2A, and the 33.5 km Mumbai metro, Phase I, Line 3. Further, Phase I of the Pune metro project has also recently commenced civil operations.
  • Besides the ongoing activity, several new metro rail projects are on the anvil. Two line extension projects for the Delhi metro, worth Rs 10.90 billion, have been approved by the Ministry of Finance. These projects will involve the extension of the metro line from YMCA Chowk to Ballabhgarh in Faridabad, and Najafgarh to the Dhansa Border in Delhi. Further, Phase IV of the Delhi metro project has also been accorded approval. The phase will comprise the development of six corridors, spanning over 100 km in length. Besides expansion projects in metropolitan cities, several metro rail projects have recently been announced for smaller cities such as Coimbatore, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Agra. Meanwhile, the previously announced Chandigarh metro rail project, which was to span 37.5 km has been dropped.
  • New BRT projects have also been proposed across the country. For instance, a 14 km long BRT project is being planned for Indore. The Delhi government has also announced the development of a 15 km long corridor in East Delhi.

Conclusion

Cities across the country are increasingly focusing on improving their urban transportation systems. The past year has fared well in terms of project progress, with several key projects being commissioned. Going forward, to expedite growth in this sector, stress will have to be laid on ensuring timely completion of projects, easing the process of getting clearances and that of acquiring land. Mitigating these issues will go a long way in pushing the sector on to a higher growth trajectory.