Many cities now want low-cost Metro Lite, Metro Neo: Report
Several cities in India are reportedly considering cheaper alternatives to the Metro rail. Nashik, Thane, Gorakhpur, Jammu, Srinagar, and Coimbatore are among the cities that have initiated talks with the central government to get these modes of transport, according to The Print. The cheaper alternatives include Metro Lite (which resembles a tramway) and Metro Neo (which is akin to an electric trolleybus).
According to The Print, two senior officials in the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) said they have already received proposals from Gorakhpur and Delhi for a Metro Lite project. Delhi's proposal seeks to provide last-mile connectivity with a Rithala to Narela link. Further, they have also received proposals for a Metro Neo project in Nashik, the officials said.
Nashik's proposal reportedly includes two Metro Neo lines of a total of 32 km with an estimated cost of Rs. 2,100 crore. "We are studying the proposals before taking it to the cabinet for final approval," one of the officials reportedly said.
Jaideep, Officer on Special Duty (Urban Transport), MoHUA, told The Print, "Metro projects are capital-intensive and are viable for big cities with very high ridership and 'per hour per direction traffic (PHPDT)'." "For smaller cities with lesser traffic, light rail solutions like Metro Lite or a Metro Neo will be more viable and cost-effective," the official added.
Separately, other cities including Thane, Coimbatore, Warangal, Hyderabad, Jammu, and Srinagar have shown interest in the Metro alternatives. Thane is among the cities that have prepared a Detailed Project Report for a Metro Lite corridor, an official told The Print. The Thane Municipal Corporation has already cleared a proposal for a 28.8-km corridor at an estimated cost of Rs. 6,279 crore.
Notably, it costs Rs. 222 crore per km to construct a conventional Metro rail. Metro Lite costs Rs. 140 crore per km, while Metro Neo costs Rs. 71 crore per km. India already has 717 km of the Metro rail network, and by 2024-2025, it is planning to expand it to over 1,700 km—the second-highest after China's 7,000 km of Metro network.