Lucknow gets its own metro
The Lucknow Metro was inaugurated today in the presence of UP Governor Ram Naik, CM Yogi Adityanath and Home Minister Rajnath Singh. For now, the Transport Nagar-Charbagh route will be in service. The network would open to public tomorrow morning. This is part of the 23-km North-South Corridor. The second corridor, 11km long, will be called the East-West Corridor; it will be completed by April'19.
The Lucknow Metro will be the first to achieve a praiseworthy achievement: trains will be operated only by women. Twenty-one drivers have already been selected and trained.
Even the network's pilot run last December was managed by two women "to give more percievability to ladies drivers (sic)"- Pratibha Sharma and Prachi Sharma of Allahabad. Both joined LMRC as station controller-cum-prepare administrators. In fact, when the LMRC sought applications for train operator vacancies, as many as 3,827 came from women. According to the Lucknow branch, other metros employ only 3% women operators.
The launch of the metro was also an occasion for the former Samajwadi Party government to taunt the BJP. SP spokesperson Rajendra Chaudhary released photos of former CM Akhilesh Yadav's symbolic inauguration of his "dream project". The metro couldn't be officially inaugurated earlier since the Centre didn't provide an NoC. He accused the BJP government of doing nothing but changing names of SP's policies.
Media similarly lauded Kochi Metro's progressive move: it was the first government organization to hire transgenders. But within a week, eight of the 21 employees had quit: people weren't willing to rent them places, and those that did charged exorbitant rates. The LMRC has to ensure its move doesn't backfire too: safety and other necessary facilities have to be ensured for its women employees.
Initially, the four-coach trains will accommodate 1,100 passengers with a seating capacity for 200. In another first, it will calculate ticket price based on number of stations, not distance. Fare will range between Rs. 10-60. Children shorter than 90cm won't be charged. Smart Card will offer 10% discount on ticket price. There will be separate sections for women and the physically-challenged.