After nearly a decade long delay, it looks like the Pune Metro Rail project is finally going to see the light of the day. The PIB (Public Investment Board) approval came in last week, and the final approval from the Central Cabinet is expected later this month. Following this approval, the official launch of the project is expected soon thereafter.
Like with many infrastructure projects in Pune (airport, ring road, etc.), the Metro too is many years behind schedule. Today, the Pune metropolitan region has a population of over 6 million, and this is expected to approach 10 million in the next two decades. From an economy perspective, the Pune region will be among the top 5/6 metros in the country by 2030 – with major economic activity in both manufacturing and services.
At present, Pune has one of the worst public transit systems, among large cities in India. The percentage of private vehicle ownership is among the highest in the country. The city is adding over 1,000 new vehicles on the road each day! Big traffic jams, a rarity in Pune not long ago, are becoming the norm. With each passing year, they are getting worse. Improving public transportation is a critical need for the city.
Public transport needs to be enabled through multiple modes: Suburban/Light Rail, Metro Rail, BRT, Bus Service, Mini-Bus Shuttles, Pooled Rides, etc. All these modes have their advantages and disadvantages, and are relevant for specific use cases. This particular blog-post is focused on the Metro Rail. I have written before on Pune’s bus transit system before and will be writing more in the future.
Projects like airport, metro rail need significant investments and need to have a 30-50 year planning horizon outlook. These projects need to account for Pune’s current needs as well as the future growth. The present plan for the Pune Metro consists of two corridors:
1. Swargate – PCMC
2. Vanaz – Ramwadi
This plan was originally conceived many years back. Given the present situation in 2016 and looking at 2030 and beyond, it is important that we upgrade this plan right now, without any further delay.
Here are my suggestions to extend the existing plan (note: I am not proposing any major changes in the existing plans for the two corridors).
1. Corridor 1
Expand Corridor-1 further north beyond PCMC Building to Nigdi, Akurdi and Dehu.
Create an expansion corridor branch (I will call it Corridor 1A for now) that stretches from PCMC Building to Moshi/Bhosari, and onwards to Chakan.
Expand Corridor-1 further south beyond Swargate to Gultekdi, Dhankawadi, Katraj.
A further expansion can also be made to extend beyond Katraj (through a tunnel) to the new proposed airport at Pargao-Memane (near Saswad).
2. Corridor 2
Expand Corridor-2 further north-east beyond Ramwadi to Kharadi and Wagholi.
Create a branch of Corridor 2 (I will call it Corridor 2A for now), which extends to Karvenagar and Warje (from Paud Phata Karve Road, along the river). This will also enable relatively easy access for people living on the Sinhagad Road side as well (across from Rajaram Bridge).
Expand Corridor-2 further west from Vanaz to Bavdhan/Chandani Chowk, Bhugaon and Pirangut.
3. Corridor 3 (new)
The new Corridor-3 should start from Hinjawadi Phase-3/4 in the north-west.
It should cover Hinjawadi, Wakad, Aundh, University, Shivajinagar, Pune Station, and then stretch further east to Cantonment Area, Magarpatta and Hadapsar.
Other general points to consider for this planning:
The need for at least 3/4 corridors is necessary, given the circular geography and population clusters of the Pune Metro Region.
It is critical that access is provided to IT Parks and Industries in Hinjawadi, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Chakan, Kharadi, and Hadapsar.
Connectivity to Railway Stations (Pune, Shivajinagar, Hadapsar, and Pimpri), Intercity Bus Terminals and Airport is critical.
The end points of the metro rail corridors should be located near (or beyond) the proposed outer ring road of the city. This will enable fast multi-modal transit.
BRT, Bus, Mini-Bus routes should be suitably adjusted to provide good multi-modal connectivity to the stations along these metro corridors.
Suburban Rail corridor should also be utilized from Lonavala to Daund (I have discussed this in my earlier blog-posts). This can be effectively the 4th Metro Corridor.
This article was first published on Amit Paranjpe’s Blog.