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Metro : Hypnotized

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Summary: Do we have any other choices other than Metro? Are we trying to hide our deficiencies and closed our eyes to all the improvements? How good metro projections are? All these questions are very critical and crucial before we consider Metro project?


Do we have any other choices other than Metro? 

BMTC system is old. I think one should see how it works and claims it is optimal. Just because it is working for years and making profit does not prove that it can not be improved. In fact a very good system should be open to change to achieve optimal efficiency. To evaluate, let us try to answer few questions here. 

  1. One wants to travel from Point A to B. What are the ways he can find Bus route ? 
  2. One wants to travel from Point A to B @ 3pm. What are the ways he can find if there is a bus or not? 
  3. BMTC still have buses having only driver who gives tickets. They not only create chaos at bus stops but dangerous as well. Is BMTC planning to stop them?
  4. Volvo buses are making losses. Any one analysed the reasons for the same why it is failure? 

There can be more questions added. Let us think about these questions in detail.

Question1: How easy it is to find bus route? How much time it takes? How much it cost? Can we make this information easy to get? 

Question2: Does BMTC knows where their buses are? Does passengers have possibility of knowing when the next 333T is coming(Recently my friend had to wait 30 mins for the same)? Do we have any schedule for BMTC ( Recommend readers not to waste Rs 40 on time table, it is useless)? Does BMTC time table is user friendly?

Question3: Is BMTC aware that it is risky when driver has to drive as well as give ticket? Indian rules do not allow mobile while driving.

Question4: Why volvo buses are not successful? This questions can have very interesting answer. 

Let us consider these questions further (collectively) . What is the advantages we will have if I solve/ease out on the above questions. 

  1. Not able to find right thing always discourage people from using public transport. When one want to sell public transport, one has to make information easily available.
  2. Schedule is important , it will reduce waiting time, encourage people to use Buses more often.
  3. Less waiting time will mean less people standing on the stops and reducing chaos happening near the bus stops. ( Can resolve bottlenecks up to 10% at few points). 
  4. Making BMTC more secure will encourage people to use. Single driver buses create more traffic nuisance as they spend more time at bus stops hindering other buses to get place. 
  5. If Volvo problem is thought through clearly, it will work. 
  6. How much of IT is used in BMTC in the most IT savvy city of india? Do we require it? How much GPRS cost for BMTC buses if this can solve problem? ( Rs 50000 * 5000 buses = 250000000 or 250 Cr 1/40th of metro with no construction). Can we leverage buses better if we have GPRS? If yes then how much? 

There are more points to be covered related to

  1. Pedestrian
  2. Cyclist
  3. Dedicated Bus lane
  4. Making city centers vehicle free (Done in European Cities)
  5. Traffic system

There is lot of brainstorming can be done to find better solution rather than going by the wind of metro. The extent of the impact of each solution has to calculated as well. It is important prioritize them. One has to be sure that possible collective solution coming out of above possibilities can be overcome by Metro in terms time, cost and effort.

How good metro projections are?

No need prove anything here as the numbers clearly show that metro has overestimated more than 100% in every aspect of utility in case of delhi metro. Considering the cost it is disaster, which we will realize at later point of time.

For other points, study shows that Metro do not have any give time advantage over car/BRT for less than 24 KM distance. How many people will have more 20 KM ride? 

No one is adding the cost of public suffering during the construction.

A very important point about metro success is that Metro is planned for other cities when there was no internet or mobile penetration. So we have lot to explore/innovate for public transport in this internet age.


As there are very simple questions which can not be answered easily.There is lot more to change, improve in the current public transport system. If one analyses the system with more caution and care there can be breakthroughs possible from the existing system itself.

In all, we should not be over expecting from metro, if at all we decide to go with it. It has its own limitation and risks attached (Short Term, long term). Current system gives us better opportunities as we can understand the those better because of years of experience. The need is willing to open to eyes and explore the world of optimization and efficiency rather than getting hypnotized by gimmicks like Metro. 


Refer to following articles for further details which compare Metro, BRT and other mediums.

research published by the same IIT Delhi group

http://web.iitd. media/dmarticles /SquanderingPubl icFundsDM. htm 

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