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Will Delhi Metro turn into a white elephant? - Rediff article

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Metro RailPublic Transport


153 km. network, built over 15 years.
Cost Rs. 30,500 Cr.

12 % of motorized commutes done on Metro.
Ridership is 1.4 Million per day, 30 % of projected numbers (? - not clear from article).

In 2007-8, 41 % of total trips were by bus, 4 % were by Metro. Ridership was 20 % of projected number.

Annual revenue looks like it is half of expenditure (not clear in article).


silkboard's picture

Its a business standard article

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Rediff can't write any analysis, unless it is about cricket or movies :)

I think we mentioned the original business standard article ( in another Metro bashing thread here. We all know and agree that Metro alone is not enough, and it is time for quality newspapers to stop printing rear view mirror articles and put out some analysis on how these systems of transportation should complement each other to make the whole thing viable.

IIT-D's Volvo funded research center might be 'supporting' these recent articles, as many seem to have quotes from Prof Dinesh Mohan, and talk of BRT. Its alright to lobby, not complaining at all, but yes for BRT does not have to be a no for something else, and the talk of integration is usually missing in these articles.

Having read biz standard all these days, I am looking fwd to more prescriptive articles from them. Sharmistha or Himanshu Burte, if you do read this, the keywords are multi-modal and integration.

This or that arguments can never take things forward swiftly enough. However, want BRT or its variants for Bangalore? Let us all pitch in and campaign via the Bus Priority System project. Its on.

deepakar's picture

Is it fair to demand profitability from Metro?

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The Wikipedia entry on Rapid Transit claims that Delhi Metro is one of only 5 mass transit systems to make profits (Citation not provided), so we must not be doing all that bad. In any case, direct profitability can't be the only measure infrastructure, can it? That's akin to asking how much revenue your newly asphalted road is generating.

I agree with SB that rediff's analysis is all over the place.


Deepak Rajanna

Naveen's picture

Metro is not just for today

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Metro is just one link in the chain of modes for city travel. Unless the various links of the chain are well connected, no system will serve best for what it's intended & thereby not perform well financially either.

If the metro does not perform well financially in it's first few years, I don't think it can be cricticized & cast aside as a failure or a white elephant or bad planning or whatever. In due course, it will pickup as the focus will shift on better feeder services, etc to make it better ingrained with the system.

This is similar to the volvo services in bangalore. Initially, the service was being criticized by a few about wastefulness, subsidy, bad planning & what not, but it is now proving very dependable, comfortable & useful for a lot of commuters. It is also helping with reduction of traffic & reduction of air-pollution from vehicles.

Above all, public transport is not run merely for profits. It's purpose is to provide cheap commuting options for the public. Profits thus become secondary.

Whilst Delhi Metro might have poor ridership presently & poor feeder services, it is hoped that Namma Metro does better right from the start. BMTC is promising feeder services even at late hours - see this.

idontspam's picture

How white is this elephant?

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This dont sound like no white elephant

The number of Metro commuters on the Rajiv Chowk- HUDA City Centre line has crossed five lakh passengers per day. Heres worse: It will go up further. The system is cracking up to the growing number. Travelling by the Metro from Gurgaon to Delhi is now almost like travelling in the inhumanly over-packed Mumbai locals.

In past four months, Metros ridership has increased by almost 44%. The Gurgaon link has the highest share of this increase. During peak hours, every train is carrying about 1,400 persons on this line


debamitro's picture

personal observations

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 (I am living in NCR for the last 6 months and am actively using the metro since last month)

1. Delhi Metro is running packed, sometimes totally stuffed
2. I have seen no decrease in number of cars on the road and traffic jams.

It seems that usage and ownership of cars is not only related to availability of good bus/metro services -- there are other factors. I feel that the major problem of metro is its cost (which is why it is so lucrative, as well) which is way too high given its value. However as a commuter it is not possible to understand the cost factor. I think cities who are still yet to have started building such systems should thoroughly anaylze the costs incurred.

idontspam's picture


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  However as a commuter it is not possible to understand the cost factor

Then why do you consider it as a factor of choosing car over metro? If you have an agenda no need to hide it.

If cars have not reduced and metro is still running packed obviously it has helped in providing transport for a whole lot of people who would have otherwise had to find some inconvenient way of travelling. Financial disincentives for private vehicles have to supplement provision of public transport of any kind.

I am sure it is not more expensive than the opportunity cost of 2G auction or the overpaying in the CWG or the defrauding to the exchequer by the denotification & G category allotment scams

srinidhi's picture

car experience

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 There is a major population which has not experienced cars yet in India and thats the probable reason why the car traffic has not reduced..its still a status symbol..

We were smart with other things..US lingered a long time on pagers before they took onto mobile phones but we dumped pagers quite early..etc

Maybe its just a matter of time till we realise that cars arent good after all and more a pain than anything..US was car pooling 30-40 yrs ago(was reading dagwood pool cars in blondie)..hope we dont do that much either and jump over to PT..

hmm...wheres the metro?! comment guidelines

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