With the Hyderabad Metro being launched in the southern city, thousands of residents are enjoying their daily commute to and from work …….
FOR a city that has had for several years a relatively better transportation system as compared to other Indian metros and large cities, Hyderabad is witnessing rapid progress in the roll-out of its metro rail system.
Envisaged initially in 2003, the project lingered on for nearly a decade without much progress and the state government cancelled a contract after the bidder failed to generate enough funds to fulfill tender requirements.
Finally, work on the project, the first phase of which is being executed by Larsen & Toubro, began in 2012. And in November last year, the maiden 30-km stretch was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the first time that a metro service began operating on a relatively long stretch right at the very beginning.
According to NVS Reddy, Managing Director, Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL), about 80,000 people commute on the metro every day. The first phase links Miyapur to SR Nagar and Mettuguda and a short, 8-km stretch from Nagole to Mettuguda.
First phase nears completion
And with the new Amerpeet-LB Nagar route to be inaugurated soon, the number of passengers is expected to more than double. The first phase of Hyderabad Metro will cover 71.16 km spanning six stages and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The second phase, to be undertaken by the state government (and not in the public-private partnership mode, as happened in the first phase), will add another 115 kms to the city’s metro rail network.
This phase would connect important places including the IT hub of Gachibowli, the Rajiv Gandhi International airport at Shamshabad and Patancheru, an industrial zone.
The detailed project report for the second phase is expected to be ready by August. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is preparing the DPR and the Telangana Government plans to raise funds internationally for this.
Interestingly, the Telangana Government has also asked the Hyderabad Metro to develop a five km long stretch covering five metro stations lying within the Old City as a ‘heritage precinct.’
Just recently, HMRL Engineers and a team of architects inspected the 5-km-stretch between the police control room and Telangana State Archaeology Museum and Rangamahal Junction. The metro stations include Assembly, Nampally, Gandhi Bhavan, OMC and MGBS in Corridor-I.
K.T. Rama Rao, the Minister for Municipal Administration and Urban Development, had instructed Hyderabad Metro to develop it as a heritage precinct. Plans include developing continuous and wide footpaths for seamless pedestrian movement along the stretch with a distinct heritage theme.
Zoomcar has also deployed about 500 cycles for its sharing service all over Hyderabad, especially areas including Gachibowli, Madhapur, Ameerpet and Begumpet. The bicycles are available for rents of as low as ₹3 for a 30-minute ride.
The heritage precinct development will include wrought iron/MS railing with a heritage look, classic, ethnic patterns of tiles and stone flooring, restoration of heritage structures and buildings, liberal usage of cobble stones, period street furniture and vintage looking electrical fittings interspersed with sculptures, art work and classical signage etc.
Footpaths will also be dipped to form a ramp-like structure for the convenience of pedestrians at every entry and exit points of Government and private buildings and, would be paved with cobble stones. Theme based public plazas will also be developed with appropriate focus lighting to restore the magnificent look of the grand structures which are not in a good shape currently.
Hyderabad Metro also plans to set up ‘skywalks’ ensuring direct access for passengers to bus and railway stations.
Another interesting aspect of the new metro project is the recent launch of electric vehicles – Mahindra e2oPlus cars – at Miyapur metro station.
Charging stations are being set up along the metro corridor and passengers having a valid driving licence can take these vehicles on rent – through a mobile app. And the cost of hiring the car is a mere ₹40 an hour.
Metro users can also rent these electric vehicles for ₹10,000 a month. Surender Reddy, CEO, Zoomcars, says that the passenger can recover part of the cost by further renting of the vehicle.
NVS Reddy of Hyderabad Metro says the facility will help IT professionals the most, ensuring last-mile connectivity to metro stations. “Hyderabad has become the first city in the country to have this facility,” he says. Zoomcar has also deployed about 500 cycles for its sharing service all over Hyderabad, especially areas including Gachibowli, Madhapur, Ameerpet and Begumpet. The bicycles are available for rents of as low as ₹3 for a 30-minute ride.
For the hundreds of thousands of commuters in Hyderabad, life has indeed become easier with the launch of these new services. Travelling to and fro to work or even going out on weekends with the family could turn out to be a pleasurable experience.