Hyderabad resident and bank employee, T. Srinivas used to take a bus from Nagole to Ameerpet for work every day, which would take anywhere from an hour to 1.5 hours. He now covers the same stretch in about 40 minutes, all thanks to the Hyderabad Metro.
Tens of thousands of passengers like Mr. Srinivas have a reason to smile — with the integration of the LB Nagar stretch last month, Hyderabad Metro has enhanced the connectivity between Nagole and LB Nagar via the Inner Ring Road, which has significantly reduced the commute time for passengers on Nagole – Ameerpet route. But that’s just a small part of the success story that Hyderabad Metro has written in little more than one year of its launch.
Today, nearly two lakh passengers are availing the metro on a daily basis to reach their destinations across Hyderabad quickly and safely. In fact, considering the overwhelming public response, the cost of the project, in all likelihood, will break even in the next six to seven years, as reported by the Financial Express.
The First Phase of Success
The Hyderabad Metro Rail, hailed as the world’s biggest Metro Rail project implemented under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode, opened to the public in November 2017. It is also the second largest Metro Rail network in the country, next to Delhi.
The Phase-1 of the project includes three corridors — the Green Line from JBS to Falaknuma (15 km), the Blue Line from Nagole to Raidurg (28 km), and the Red Line from Miyapur to LB Nagar (29 km). At present, 45 km of the projected 72 km is operational.
Services between MGBS and Jubilee Bus Station (9.66 km) on the Green Line will begin from mid-2019, while on the Blue Line, a metro link between Ameerpet to HITEC City (9.43 km) is supposed to start by this year end.
The Financial Express report also cited Mr. NNVS Reddy, the MD of Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd (HMRL) as estimating the growth in ridership once these two stretches become operational. He predicts the ridership figures to climb from the current 2 lakhs to 5 lakhs per day.
In 280 Days, Hyderabad Metro Hits 20 Million Mark
“Thank you for trusting and travelling with us,” tweeted the HMRL officials thanking the commuters, after transporting 20 million passengers in 280 days of its operation. On the opening day itself, over one lakh city residents took the Metro Rail, making the project a huge success from the get-go.
Last year, HMRL launched its mobile app, TSavaari to make metro travel hassle-free for passengers in Hyderabad and since then, the app has witnessed more than 1 lakh downloads. Along with providing the metro timings, the app has also tied up with Ola Cabs and its payment wallet, Ola Money. With the OLA integration, the app not only allows passengers to book a ride to and from any metro train station but also enables them to recharge their metro smart cards directly from Ola Money.
The good news is, HMRL isn’t resting on its laurels. And, this is evident from its continued efforts to ensure commuters’ convenience.
To make Metro services available to more commuters, HMRL, in April this year, announced an increase in frequency on the Miyapur – Ameerpet – Nagole stretch, while it has increased the frequency on LB Nagar stretch last week. To exceed the 20 million riders mark in the next year, HMRL has expedited work between Ameerpet and LB Nagar, JBS and MGBS, and between Ameerpet and HITEC City.
Hyderabad Metro Offers Superlative End-User Experience
According to a survey by Keolis International, a global leader in public transport solutions, the Hyderabad Metro tops in end-user satisfaction at 98.5 percent.
The passenger satisfaction rate of Hyderabad Metro outperforms Melbourne Metro, London Metro, and many others. Keolis International, which operates metro rail in 15 countries, surveyed 1,000 passengers in major metros, asking for their opinion on passenger amenities, the technology used, safety measures, and staff support. Hyderabad emerged as a winner, with end-users giving the city’s metro a big thumbs-up.
A Study of the Hyderabad Metro by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)
The Tata Institute of Social Sciences, through a series of surveys and ground research, unearthed interesting facts about the Hyderabad Metro. The TISS report reveals that the primary focus of HMRL is to change the way people commute.
The Hyderabad Metro and Gender
The Hyderabad Metro has no seats reserved for women. But most women, when interviewed by TISS, said, Metro makes them feel safe at night, as compared to other transport modes. This sense of safety and liberation comes from CCTV cameras, installed in trains and at stations.
Inclusion of All
HMRL commits equal opportunity for all, including persons with disabilities (PwD). There are braille numbering, wide lifts, ramps, and obstacle-free pathways for PwD. The Metro stations integrate dedicated lifts and escalators for senior citizens. HMRL, for easier boarding, also plans to reduce the gap between platforms and coaches.
Ensuring Sustainable Mobility
HMRL, to address last-mile connectivity issues, is associating with various organizations to launch bicycle stations. This will offer commuters the option to pedal their way to desired destinations from any metro station.
The Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited intends to introduce 10,000 bicycles on all three corridors of the Metro network.
Boost to Real Estate Development
In cities where Metro is operational for a few years, it has helped grow areas near to the stations and the terminal stations with better connectivity as well as last mile connectivity by auto-rickshaws, buses, motorcycles, etc.
The signs are clear that this is going to happen in Hyderabad also. Now that the connectivity with office areas like the Financial District is better with fringe areas of Hyderabad, there is a perceptible shift to choose apartments in somewhat lower cost areas. This has started to increase real estate development in the areas close to the Metro and the trend will continue with the inclusion of the areas like HITEC City in the Metro network shortly.
Completion of the 10-km stretch from Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station to Jubilee Bus Station will pave the entry of Hyderabad Metro into the Old City. Possibilities of connecting the Metro from multiple venues to the city’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) are also being explored.
Apart from that, HMRL also has plans to tie up with hospitals to transit passengers via the Metro which is currently the fastest way of getting across the city.
So far Hyderabad Metro has proven to be a game-changer, providing an optimal solution to reduce traffic congestion and the city’s air pollution. However, authorities and commuters can test its real success when a high-density zone like HITEC City comes under the Metro network next month.