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Boon for metro passengers across India! Last mile connectivity to get government’s attention

Nikita Prasad

Great news for metro passengers across the country! After expanding and sustaining several metro rail networks and new metro lines across India, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will now shift attention to improving the last-mile connectivity for metro passengers, according to an HT report. This was one of the objectives articulated in the 2017 national metro policy. As part of the last mile connectivity, the Ministry has till now focused on feeder bus services, electric rickshaws, smart cycles which can be rented out, electric scooter services, as well as partnerships with cab aggregators. According to the national metro policy, the main objective is to ensure that the lowest cost mass transit mode is selected and used for the public transport.

The policy adds that towards this, the states must enhance other kinds of mass rapid transport systems, such as monorails or buses, and provide the last mile connectivity, enroute between the metro stations and the destinations of commuters. According to Hardeep Puri, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, they have already drafted a last-mile connectivity plan across all operational metros and the aim is to provide a safe and economical ecosystem of daily commuting for passengers. The Union government has already drafted a last-mile connectivity plan for as many as ten metros in cities such as Bangalore, Delhi and Kochi.

The national metro policy also aims to enhance the metro rail revenues through a feeder system. The policy noted that every proposal for metro rail should necessarily include proposals for feeder systems. Last-mile connectivity through the pedestrian pathways, non-motorised transport (NMT) infrastructure as well as introducing facilities for para transit modes will be important requirements for availing any central assistance towards the proposed metro rail projects.

According to the report, till now around 329 feeder bus services have been made operational by the Centre already. This includes a purposeful plan for Delhi and the national capital region (NCR) served by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The Centre is also working on a pilot project which involves cab aggregators which have been allotted a particular rented space at the metro stations to set up kiosks where the cabs can be booked by passengers. Along with this, the Centre is also working towards integrating electric vehicle transportation. According to the Ministry, a pilot is being undertaken by DMRC across five metro stations. It is already operational in Chennai at two metro stations and it is also functional in Hyderabad. Another aspect of NMT is cycle sharing services which are currently operational across eight cities