Forward March: Hyderabad metro rail project inches closer to completion

Hyderabad metro rail project inches closer to completion

The Hyderabad metro rail project is the world’s largest public-private partnership (PPP) project in the metro rail sector. It is being developed as an elevated metro project with emphasis on intermodal integration, non-motorised transport facilities, a good feeder bus service and pedestrian facilities for last-mile connectivity. The state government is undertaking the Hyderabad metro rail project through a quasi-government agency, Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL). The metro system is expected to carry about 2.2 million passengers per day by 2024. Currently, two major corridors have become fully operational. Progress on the last corridor is under way, and it is expected to be fully operational by the third quarter of 2019-20.

Project features

Phase I of the Hyderabad metro rail system spans three high density traffic corridors and involves the construction of an entirely elevated network length of about 72 km with 66 stations. Corridor I covers a 29.87 km stretch from Miyapur to L.B. Nagar with 27 stations. Corridor II covers the Jubilee Bus Station (JBS)- Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS)-Falaknuma stretch (14.78 km, 16 stations) and Corridor III covers the Nagole–Hitec City /Shilparamam-Raidurg stretch (26.51 km, 23 stations). So far, over 40 per cent of the work has been completed across the three corridors. For construction purposes, Phase I has been further divided into six stages.

The metro rail project is being implemented by HMRL on a PPP basis with Larsen & Toubro. A special purpose vehicle, Larsen & Toubro Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited (L&TMRHL), was formed to develop the project. L&TMRHL is undertaking the project on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer basis with a concession period of 35 years.

Construction of the metro project began in July 2012. On June 27, 2019, the project achieved another milestone of completing the entire overhead viaduct of 66 km across the three corridors. Metro trains are now running on the fully commissioned Corridor 1 (Miyapur-L.B. Nagar) and the almost completed Corridor 3 (Nagole-Ameerpet and Ameerpet-Hitec City stretches) is operational while Corridor 2 (JBS-MGBS-Falaknuma) is yet to be initiated.

L&TMRHL has completed the bridge work in all the other sections. The entire civil work of overhead viaducts has been completed on all three corridors. Meanwhile, some of the on-going works comprise laying of rail tracks, electric traction, signalling, etc. in a few sections. The current daily ridership is about 300,000 commuters.

The metro system deploys several advanced systems and technologies such as an advanced signalling system and automated fare collection (AFC) systems. A communications-based train control system is being fitted for safe operations of driverless metro trains and to ensure a minimum headway of 90 seconds between two trains. The contract for this has been awarded to France-based Thales.

The ticketing system is based on contactless fare media technology through smart cards and radio-frequency identification tokens. It will comprise slim automatic gates, payment by cash, debit and credit cards, and passenger-operated ticket vending machines. In February 2013, South Korea’s Samsung SDS was awarded the contract for the AFC system package. In order to increase passenger convenience, there is also special focus on the integration of the fare collection system with other modes of transport over a period of time.

The rolling stock for the project comprises a total of 171 cars (approximately 57 trains) and this is being supplied by South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem. The trains will run at an average speed of about 34 kmph and can attain a maximum speed of 80 kmph. In May 2014, the first train comprising three coaches was delivered to L&TMRHL.

Project cost, funding sources and new revenue models

The total project cost of the Hyderabad metro rail project, which was earlier estimated at Rs 165.71 billion, later escalated by 16 per cent to Rs 189.71 billion due to delays in commissioning. As of December 2018, L&TMRHL has injected equity of Rs 24.27 billion into the project and the total loan drawn was Rs 107.59 billion. It has raised Rs 10 billion through non-convertible debentures (NCDs) as a part of debt and the project received Rs 14.58 billion from the centre as viability gap funding. Apart from this, the project will require additional funds of Rs 26 billion and L&T will have to pump in additional equity of Rs 8 billion.

An additional Rs 22.43 billion is being spent for development of 6 million square feet of property in the first phase, the lease rentals of which will be another source of revenue. The state government is bearing the cost of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation, utility shifting, etc.

The project scope also includes around 18.5 million square feet of transit-oriented development (TOD) in the earmarked parking and circulation areas and depots. As per the revenue model of the project, 55 per cent of the revenue will come from fare box collection, 40 per cent as rentals from the TOD space, followed by 5 per cent from advertising, parking and carbon credits.

Future plans

The state government is planning to expand the project by extending the metro rail corridor by 83 km under Phase II of the project. The L&THMRL under Phase II has proposed to take up development of the BHEL-Lakdikapul corridor via the Kondapur, Gachibowli, Shaikpet, Tolichowki, Mehidipatnam route and to connect the gap between L.B. Nagar and Nagole, Falaknuma to Shamshabad airport. HMRL and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) have decided to jointly collaborate for the development of Phase II and will explore different options of raising financial resources to fund the project along with considering the introduction of other modes of public transport in the city. The DMRC has prepared the detailed project report for Phase II, and has undertaken preparatory works such as transportation surveys.

While the operational stretches of the Hyderabad metro have enabled speedy and comfortable commutes, and reduced traffic congestion and pollution, the impact will be more substantial once all the corridors of the metro become operational.