Future of Metro Rail in India

Future of Metro Rail in India
Future of Metro Rail in India

Metro rails are the most desirable infrastructures for the cities in India. They are known for facilitating people’s safe, quick, and easy movement. The transit system helps connect the hard-to-reach places with the rest of the city, which dissipates congestion as people reduce the usage of their vehicles. Moreover, with the inception of metro rail, the quality of life of people has also improved by providing more economic activities to the less influential segment of society. In this era of population explosion, the incoming of metro rail has proved to be a boon for society. With the pace with which Indian cities are getting populous, the Mass Rapid Transit Systems are the need of the hour. 

The National Metro Rail Policy of 2017 has also advised the cities with a population of 20 lakhs or more to look for Mass rapid Transit Systems. Metro Rail is just one type of the MRTS, others being the:

  1. Busways and bus rapid transit systems.
  2. Light Rail Transit
  3. Tramways
  4. Regional Rail

India is investing heavily in the country’s transport infrastructure, imitating the Western Transportation System. The prospects of the metro rail are pretty bright in India. Cities are witnessing fast growth in the economic domain, and the clear manifestation is the increased number of personal vehicles. The negative side of the coin is that it has resulted in severe congestion and an increase in the pollution level of a country. The remedying efforts are required in the public transportation system, and the most pressing need is the implementation of the MRTS. 

Metro rail has seen substantial growth in India in recent years, and the rate of growth is going to become twice or thrice in the coming years. The cities are facing the need for metro rail to meet daily mobility requirements. The metro rail encourages the walkable developmental pattern, which is also beneficial for society. The other merit of Metro rail is that it reduces cost and travelling time, which lowers the cost of production of goods and services, which significantly improves the city’s competitiveness. The pollution level has also reduced with the maximum public transport usage, bringing down chronic diseases and resulting in public health benefits.

Planning and implementation of Metro rail Projects: State government is the sole authority responsible for the Urban Development as the matter comes under the state list. That’s why it becomes necessary for the State Governments to make their regions more advanced and developed without hurting the economic sentiments of the people. Urban transport is inseparable and intricately connected with the issues of Urban development. Therefore, it has been argued that a System approach should be followed while implementing Metro rail transport infrastructure.

System Approach: In this, a city is represented by Land Use Zones, which are superimposed with a matching transport network. While treating the Urban area as a system and the followed interaction among the traffic, transport, and land use help predict future requirements and then evaluate the other alternative modes for the most optimum mobility plan for the city. Metro Rails should be planned and executed, keeping in mind their longer future perspective. They are a high-capacity transport system, suitable for the growing cities having a future increase in population over several years.

Alternative Analysis: Urban transports, including metro rail, deliver public goods. Therefore, its appraisal must entail a social and economic cost-benefit analysis. Metro rail enhances mobility, which catalyzes economic development and improves a city’s livability. That’s why it is pretty essential to assess the economic and social viability of the proposed project. The internal economic rate of return for the approval of any metro rail project should be either 14% or above. Moreover, the State Governments must operationalize UMTA in the city within a year for all those metro rail projects taken with the help of Central Assistance. The State Governments are responsible for supporting the metro rail projects to ensure financial sustainability.

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Kanpur Metro Station

Moreover, Metro rails have become a status symbol for any state to prove its development. With the coming of the Metro, women can reach jobs situated at a greater distance as the Metro provides a safer and quicker mode of travel between the home and workplace. This mode of transport provides safety to women and other vulnerable sections of society, including the physically disabled and elders. There is also a coach reserved for the female commuters and seats for the PWD. The metros also motivate the passengers to use public transport more and more by creating residential, leisure, and commercial spaces in the metro stations. As a result, the commutation becomes much more accessible, and the project’s financial viability also improves.

Metros are essential in India to provide the last mile connectivity, which the feeder buses have failed to provide. The most considerable lacunae of the metro companies are that they are bothered mainly with the transportation of the passenger from one platform to another, but how they reach that platform has never been their concern. This problem got resolved by the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), which introduced the idea of a Public-Private partnership. It also looked to develop the Metro in a very comprehensive manner and not in isolation. Still, some cities witness extreme ridership in buses because they don’t have any alternative public transportation system. Forex, the ridership in Indore Bus Rapid Transit System is around 6000 passengers per km.

Metro rails are needed because of the following reasons:

  1. The most efficient transportation system is space occupancy, energy consumption, and numbers transported.
  2. They are very high-capacity carriers, transporting many people during peak hours.
  3. Unlike buses and other modes of public transportation, metro rails are eco-friendly, cause much less sound pollution, and have no air pollution.
  4. They possess greater traffic capacity. It carries as much traffic as seven lanes of bus traffic and 24 lanes of car traffic.
  5. It reduces the journey time from 50% to 75%.
  6. The usage of metros should be promoted more and more as it helps in reducing the levels of greenhouse gases.
  7. The number of road accidents has also gone down drastically as the people have chosen the Metro. Speeding usually happens when people are late for their work.
  8. Metro provides air-conditioned travelling with the best comfort at relatively cheap rates.

Social Impact of the Metro Rail: All members of the society, irrespective of their caste, religion, financial status, can travel, which enhances the social integrity of the country. The necessity of a driving license is also eliminated to a great extent. It has come as a blessing in disguise for those who cannot drive or ride.

The economic impact of the Metro Rail: Mass Transit Development improves the usefulness and efficiency of the Public Transit system, which results in increased business for commercial developments and helps improve the country’s economy. Public Transit systems offer considerable savings in materials, labour, energy over other private transit systems. In addition, they have very efficient engines to carry large capacities, which helps in saving fuels.

Environmental impacts: Mass transit is more eco-friendly than other public transports. Private vehicles emit twice as much carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gases as Public Transport. With the coming of public transport, the number of cars on the road reduced, reducing the level of pollution in the city.

Future Challenges for Metro Rail in India

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In India, metro rail defines the city’s development and growth, but still, there are specific challenges that the city and its residents need to overcome to ensure a holistic benefit. First, the skyline and the city’s urban form get distorted due to the widespread network of concrete viaducts. This can be addressed by taking the Metro to the underground. Secondly, the issue of land acquisition troubles the low and middle groups and disrupts their livelihoods. Finally, the construction phase disturbs the peace and tranquillity of the residents. Again, taking metros to the underground is the solution to the problem as it will minimize the need for land acquisition and reduce the people’s inconvenience during construction.

Moreover, the financial viability of any metro rail project depends on the accuracy of the traffic demand forecasts and the ridership estimation. These projects also guide the socio-economic and environmental appraisal against the project’s cost estimation. Unfortunately, most of these forecasts often led to inaccurate or misleading pictures about the project.

Thirty-four metro rail projects are under implementation across the country, with a cumulative length of nearly 1230 km. In addition, the ministry has received proposals for another 16 projects with a cumulative length of 638km comprising Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, etc. Expansion and development are the need of the hour, which no State Government can afford to neglect. Some examples of the recently completed metro projects are as follows:

Important figures

  • Operational Routes: 707.61 km
  • Under Construction Routes: 505.25 km
  • Approved Routes: 471.54 km
  • Proposed Routes: 1045 km
  • Interesting Facts about Metro Rail Project:-
  • Oldest (First) Metro Rail System: Kolkata Metro
  • Newest Metro Rail System: Nagpur Metro
  • Largest Metro System: Delhi Metro (347 km)
  • Smallest Metro System: Ahmedabad Metro (6 km)
  • Busiest (Highest Ridership) Metro System: Delhi Metro

As the Metro enhances the values of the property and boosts up the economic activities, it consequently enhances the government’s revenue at various levels. According to the Tax Increment Financing Model, this growth in the revenue should be utilized in the funding of the metro projects. With the help of this model, the collected funds can be used effectively for infrastructure projects without necessarily raising the tax rates. This would strengthen the local economy by providing additional revenues by way of development charges.

Smallest Metro System: Ahmedabad Metro (6 km)

Busiest (Highest Ridership) Metro System: Delhi Metro

  1. Lucknow Metro is the most expensive metro rail project in Uttar Pradesh. Its first phase got operational in the year 2017.
  2. Kochi Metro: It also got completed recently. Kochi is the fastest developing city in Kerala and has an international airport, harbour, and now the Metro.
  3. Hyderabad Metro: It got operationalized in July 2017. Trail runs have started on the Miyapur to SR Nagar stretch.
  4. Some proposed and upcoming metro projects are Pune, Patna, Bhopal, Indore, Meerut, Guwahati, Chandigarh, Vijayawada, etc.

As the Metro enhances the values of the property and boosts up the economic activities, it consequently enhances the government’s revenue at various levels. According to the Tax Increment Financing Model, this growth in the revenue should be utilized in the funding of the metro projects. With the help of this model, the collected funds can be used effectively for infrastructure projects without necessarily raising the tax rates. This would strengthen the local economy by providing additional revenues by way of development charges.

Our Leaders View:

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Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India: 

“Clean public transport is top priority for Modi Govt.  The number of cities with metro rail increased to 18 from 5 in the last 5 years.  The aim is to increase it to 25 cities by 2025,” Said on Nov 2, 2021, at UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)”.

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Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs, Govt of India:

“Metro Rail is emerging as the green and preferred sustainable mode of urban commute in India. Today, we have 733 kms operational in 18 cities, 1046 kms are under construction in 16 cities, and 6 proposals are under evaluation,” said on Nov 25, 2021 while the flagged off the Magenta Line’s driverless operations”.

Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Govt. of India:

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“Metro has played an important role in making urban transportation safe, convenient, fast and accessible. Metro is the need of urban transport and after 25 years from today when 100 years of independence will be completed then metro will have achieved expansion in at least 100 cities of the country extending the network up to 5,000 kilometers.”  Said on Oct 7, 2021, during the three-day ‘New Urban India Conclave, 2021’ in Lucknow at Indira Gandhi Pratishthan”.

Industries Views:

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Mr. J. K. Jain, Business Unit Head, Railways, Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited (KPTL), Said:

“Metro Rail has been widely accepted as an alternative to mass transport in urban India because of its huge population, heightened vehicular traffic and increasing pollution. Metro in India will continue to become a dominant mode of transport in future. Additionally, other modes of Urban Transport like rapid rail, light rail etc. are also gaining traction. Nearly 750 kms of metro lines are operational in various cities in India and is very soon expected to cross the 2000 km mark with a series of metro projects under different phases across the country. The government has supported the Metro and Rail sector by way of business-friendly policies and financial support. The Government’s “Make in India” initiative provides big boost to the domestic players. The substantial increase in the budgetary support for Rail and Metro sectors in the last budget provide huge support to the sector. KPTL is also trying to enter into the Metro Rail projects especially the track and civil packages. We are building our capabilities in the core areas. We believe that going forward advanced technology and digitization will be the game changers”.

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Mr. Sanjeev Sachdev, Managing Director at Toshi Automatic Systems Pvt Ltd., said:

“Metros are significant as they increase the connectivity among far off places, which will surely enhance the integration and provide economic benefits to the citizenry. The expansion of RRTS is also helping in intra and intercity connectivity. It will also lead to the development of the area by increasing the services of the hotel industry, service industry, etc., enhancing the communication process. Moreover, Metro will become the backbone of development shortly. The government provides every support to the domestic industrialists so that Indians can become internally developed. The initiatives like Atmanirbhar Bharat and ‘Make in India’ are a step towards boosting the domestic market of India. The contribution of ‘Make in India’ is mandatory in every project of India. Toshi Automatic Systems Pvt. Ltd has also got a golden chance of contributing to Kanpur Metro”.

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Mr. V R Sharma, Managing Director, Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., Said:

“At least 100 cities and 20 satellite towns will be connected by Metro. For Example, Delhi-Palwal, Delhi-Dadri Delhi-Meerut, Delhi-Panipat etc. Traffic congestion is not the reason for metro connectivity; instead, reducing carbon emission is more important.  The ratio of commuters per car is meagre, 101 people per 101 cars, which is a significant source of pollution. In Tokyo, people use public transport and not their vehicles. Indians also need to learn from the Japanese. The government policies are still not industry-friendly, and more reforms are needed in the government’s outlook to cater to the needs of industries. JSPL is supplying to Chennai metro, Kolkata Metro, Pune Metro etc., but still, the need of the hour is the effective implementation of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.”

Conclusion: The pace with which the population of India is increasing along with the government’s model of development, in such scenario, it’s pretty impossible to neglect the Mass Rapid Transit System especially metro rail. Without discrimination based on caste, religion, class, etc., the air-conditioned journey is best to promote integration in a heterogeneous and diverse country like India. The amazing fact is that it suits even the cheap pockets of middle- and lower-income groups. For a developing country like India, it’s not a luxury to have these types of public transport. Instead, it’s necessary to keep in mind the high population growth rate, increasing pollution, poverty, unemployment, etc. Although it comes under the State list, various channels are open to get the Central Government’s assistance. Forex: public-private partnership model, grant by the Central Government and the Equity sharing model. They are essential for the growth of large cities and their residents. It’s also true that they are linked with different kinds of challenges, but still, all those challenges are easily surmountable with careful management and planning. Proper handling can be a boon for the city as it will strengthen its social and economic profile. 


  1. Future Need !! A long wait for this MRTS !! Earlier Govt never taken this kind of Efforts to FUTURE INDIA !! Always kept this Nation deprived from this sorts of Development , Growing population need greater supply & still hanging in 19th century Mindset will leave India to there Course,As Rapidly changing TIMES/ World and South Asia in particular is Time sensitive & INDIA can never / Ever left behind for 21st century ,All ready some Asian gaint have grown 4fold in the Mass Transportation ( Bullet trains) & Running at speed of over 500kmph!!GOI has to plan Accordingly with out delay not only in Transit sectors but also in Infrastructure/Highways/Teir2-3 Cities/District Head qtrs for all around Development in order to Comply with the Bursting population NEEDS& JOB’S , Because India with its Greatest Workable population aged between 25-35 yrs for Generations to Come into Nation Building Advantage leaving behind the Century old Mindset!! Because Everyone wants to live a life with Dignity & Die with a Identity!! Long live INDIA !! JAI HIND!! JAI HIND !! JAI HIND


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