India Urban Transportation Society

Website: The mailing list is The posts focus on the Delhi Metro and similar rail based mass transit projects in Indian cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. Alternatives such as Light Rail, Sky Bus, Electric Trolley Bus, Monorail, Tram, High Capacity Bus, and related public transportation issues are also discussed.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

IUT Review Vol. I No. 3

India Urban Transportation Review, March 2006
Vol. I No. 3

In this issue

* From the Editor
* Bangalore Review
* Chennai Review
* Delhi Review
* Kolkata Review
* Mumbai Review
* Coming up
* Entry Guidelines

From the Editor
Ashish Vashisht

Dear urban transportation enthusiasts,

Welcome back to another month's issue of the India Urban Transportation Review. In this month there are additional funds from Japan for Bangalore and Delhi Metros.
Delhi opened its Line 3 (Blue) Dwarka sub-city extension which has brought Metro to within a few kilometres from the Delhi IGI airport. The Empowered Group of Ministers (eGOM) meet finally put the Bangalore Metro firmly under State control. One down, but a few more steps to go for this long awaited project.

As Chennai struggles to upgrade its aging bus fleet, there is little or no progress on the ambitious monorail project. Will this become a figment of someone's imagination is yet to be seen. The Kolkata Metro extension will be delayed (again!) due to land acquisition problems. Add to this the severe financial crunch which the Metro perennially finds itself in.

Mumai Metro may finally start construction in 2007. Special Purpose Vehicle, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation is proposed. Mumbai is the grand-dad of urban transportation networks in South Asia. The Mumbai Metro will hopefully help the city reclaim its crown from the latest craze called Delhi Metro.

The website for the future India Urban Transportation Society is at where you can find all issues of IUTR.

Bangalore Review
Ashwin Hegde

New logo costs Metro Chief his job

The long awaited eGoM meeting finally took place and made major policy decisions putting the ball firmly in the state's court. Future Metro projects will be covered by state legislations such as the Mysore Tramways Act, taking it out of purviews of Indian Railways. Accordingly, states are free to choose the guage, clearing the way for India's first standard gauge project. However, the commissioner for railway safety (CRS), which falls under the Civil Aviation ministry, will be the authority to give safety clearances for Metro projects. The next step in the journey is clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation ( got the governor of Karnataka to unveil their new logo. The logo was selected by a distinguished panel of design/advertising gurus from 400 entries received in open comeptition. The logo, derived from a rangoli pattern, can be interpreted as a ‘track’ looping round a set of ‘destinations’. The colours are green and purple and the tag line is "Namma Metro" (i.e. Our Metro). Inexplicably, the BMRC failed to inform the Chief Minister about the new logo or invite him for the unveiling. The next day, Metro cheif KN Srivastava got his marchinng orders, to be replaced by another IAS officer, proving that the most important part of any job is managing you boss.

Latest: Japan has cleared soft loan for Rs. 1,699 crore (out of the total estimated cost of Rs. 5,300 crore) for the Bangalore Metro.

Chennai Review
R K Arun

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) the agency that operates the public transport bus service in Chennai is struggling to increase its fleet strength despite an increasing demand for its services. Official sources say about 25-50 buses are replaced periodically, against the need to replace at least 250 old buses.

The MTC has a fleet strength of 2,770. About 2,400 vehicles are on the road everyday. According to the Hindu, a senior official have said that a public transport bus in a city like Chennai should not be used for more than eight years and 250-280 ageing buses should be replaced annually. At present, the average age of any MTC bus is seven-plus. A "substantial number" among them is ten and "we have even buses running continuously for 12 years."

MTC hopes that the funds from the Centre's latest initiative, the National Urban Renewal Mission, could be tapped to procure more buses.

Even while the MTC is unable to replace the old buses, is taking an effort to modernise its fleet, it plans to operate a luxury bus service on an experimental basis. The sleek, sturdier new avtar of its earlier model of buses, which is fitted with fibre glass body and seats, started operations recently between Thiruvottiyur and Tambaram on Route 18.

The bus will be run for another month to check for any weathering effects. Since the summer heat may cause cracks to develop in the body it is to be checked whether the bus can withstand extreme summer heat. MTC officials have told the press that private manufacturers had already come forward to supply the fibre glass material for the body of the buses but a decision on acquiring more luxury buses will be taken only after April, when the study would be complete.

Then regarding the Chennai monorail tender, it has well past it's deadline but there has been no news about it, since the model code of conduct for Tamil nadu elections are in force. Hope we need to wait till the elections get over to hear further news about the monorail project.

Delhi Review
Ashish Vashisht

The 6.5 Km Dwarka sub-city extension was inagurated on March 31. The total length of the Delhi Metro network has gone up to 62 kms. There have been no change in the fares structure. To promote usage, the State Transport Authority has approved 12 routes for RTV feeder bus services. DMRC will further extend the line by 2.5 km from Sector 9 to Sector 22. The Metro is also planned to be linked directly to the Delhi IGI airport from newly opened Dwarka Sector 9 station, extending the Line 3. Other airpor links, such as a link from Sector 22, and a separate direct link to Connaught Place are still on the table.

With the Metro line so close to Gurgaon, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has asked DMRC to consider a link from Dwarka Line 3 to Gurgaon instead of the IIT-Gurgaon link.

Metro will reach Noida before the 2010 games. Noida Authority has decided to fund 80% of cost for the metro line from New Ashok Nagar to Noida. While the rest 20% will be funded by the urban development ministry in form of grants.

As DMRC starts work on the Phase II of the project, an interlinking line is being talked about for Phase III which will run along the Ring Road. This line, it is proposed, will link the different Metro lines to provide better connectivity. DMRC Managing Director, E. Sreedharan, talked about his vision for 'a metro station every 500 metres covering 400 kilometre of the city by 2020.'

With frequent incidents of breakdowns due to birds getting entangled in electric wires, Delhi Metro has installed bird spikes on poles and other electrical installations to prevent the creatures from making nests and perching themselves there.

DMRC has finally decided to go underground through Qutab to Gurgaon in its phase II after the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) raised objections. The entire region is a historical site and any construction along the route is bound to throw up some hidden treasures.

Latest: Japan has cleared soft loan for an additional Rs 566 crore to the Phase-II of the Delhi metro project, along with Rs. 1,699 crore for the Bangalore Metro.

Kolkata Review
Abhejit Agarwal

The proposed extension of the North-South line of the Kolkata Metro has hit land acquisition problem and may miss the July 2006 deadline for proposed completion.

The proposed extension was sanctioned by the state government in 1999-2000 at a total project cost of approximately Rs. 907 crore. The extended line will add 8.7 km with six additional stations to the southern end of the Metro line currently culminating at the Tollygunge station. The six stations are Kudghat, Bansdroni, Naktala, Garia Bazar, Pranab Nagar and new Garia. The extended line will be an elevated structure that will run parallel to the Tollygunge canal.

Despite the July deadline looming large, almost 45 percent of the stretch still remains to be completed, and experts and engineers associated with the project have predicted that the delays could push the completion to as late as 2008.

Already, the Kolkata Metro is facing a deep financial crunch, with an annual operating loss of 50 crores, while its annual income has been hovering around 45 crores. In addition, the union government, which has been funding the Metro till date, wants the WB government to take over.

While land has been acquired for most of the stretch, land for the last km of the track still needs to be acquired by the state government and handed to the Metro authorities, and this has been holding up the progress of the entire track. While work is progressing along on the first five stations, the construction of the New Garia station has yet to start.

Admitting that land acquisition, or the lack of it, the Metro spokesman, Samir Chandra Bannerjee, has held up any further progress, thus shifting the target completion date to December 2007. If land is not cleared in time, the Metro might miss the revised deadline as well.

According to engineers working on the project, the entire canal section that runs under the new stretch will be covered and each station will offer ample car parking. The approaching monsoons are a major cause of concern because that will slow the drying of casts.

Meanwhile, the much touted rail-airport connectivity project being constructed by the Kolkata Metro seems to be heading for trouble as well. With a total project outlay of 117 crore and already behind schedule, the transit system envisages linking the airport to the Dumdum – Bongoan section of the circular railway. The new airport line runs from Dumdum cantonment station at a distance of 3.8 km. Around 2.8 km of this stretch is elevated.

Some of the major shortcomings of the new track are that it is 300-400 meters away from the domestic terminal, which is a significant distance for a passenger with luggage to haul. Also, currently, there is only track laid on the line, thus a single trip will take from 20 to 30 minutes. In addition, passengers will have to transfer midway to the Metro to reach the city center.

Mumbai Review
Abhejit Agarwal

The Mumbai Metro

After years of uncertainty, the Mumbai Metro seems finally set to see the light of day, with construction slated to begin in 2007. In what is a positive sign for the future of the urban transport system of the city, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is taking personal interest in the project and has asked the state to speed up the process. A consortium led by Reliance Energy has emerged as the lowest bidder to undertake phase one.

Earlier this month, the Maharasthra Cabinet approved the first phase of the Metro rail project, which includes two of the three proposed metro lines. The first line is the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar line to be built at an estimated cost of 1500 crores. The second line is the Colaba-Mahim-Charkhop line to be built at an estimated cost of 7432 crores. The third line is the Mahim-Mankund line to be undertaken in the second phase of the project. According to the Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, tenders for the Versova-Ghatkopar line have been invited already and the line is expected to be completed by 2009.

Work on the Colaba-Bandra-Charkop line will begin later this year. This 38.24 km route will have an underground stretch of 10.8 km between Colaba and Mahalaxmi. Of the total 36 stations on the route, 11 will be underground. The line is expected to be completed by 2010-11.

The entire project is estimated to be completed in 2021 at a total cost of Rs. 19525 crores. The project envisages 9 lines in 3 phases, covering a total distance of 146.5 km, of which 32.5 km will be underground. According to media reports, the Central government has favored the standard gauge for the tracks, as opposed to the broad gauge proposed by the Indian Railways.

The state proposes to set up the Special Purpose Vehicle, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, to oversee the project’s implementation. The MMRDA will be the nodal agency for the project. The state has also approved the financial plan for the project. According to the CM, the JBIC has evinced interest in financing part of the project. The state and center are expected to provide 40 percent of the funds each. The fares are expected to be 1.5 times that of BEST fares in 2009 and will rise by 5 percent each year.

Coming up
In future issues

Gearing up for the 2010 Commonwealth Games - A Review of the Transportation Network in Delhi
Vaibhav Sarin

Hyderabad Review
Roopesh Kohad

Entry Guidelines

Entries are invited for the India Urban Transportation Review for the cities of Kochi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. City review should be between 100-200 words. If you want to contribute on any of the cities already covered, you must collaborate with the current authors.

Full length feature articles are also invited. The article should be relevant to urban transporation and provide information and/or offer a case study. The article should be between 1000-2000 words. For more information contact the editor.

Kindly email your articles, questions & comments directly to ashishvashisht @


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