HYDERABAD (Metro Rail & Steel): As the Hyderabad Metro Rail recently marked its successful completion of six years, the project has witnessed an encouraging milestone, nearly reaching a daily ridership of 5 lakh commuters across its three operational routes under phase one. The bustling network spans a total of approximately 69 km, catering to significant traffic corridors within the city. Launched in phases over a span of three years, the metro project under phase one commenced its maiden journey in 2017 with the inauguration of the Nagole to Miyapur stretch via Ameerpet, encompassing a 30 km route. Subsequent phases saw the gradual opening of additional stretches, ultimately linking key areas within the city, culminating with the JBS to MGBS route in February 2020.
The project encountered setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing a six-month hiatus and a subsequent struggle to rebuild ridership amid economic challenges. Metro rail authorities faced difficulties in securing partnerships for last-mile connectivity services due to numerous firms discontinuing operations amid the pandemic-induced economic downturn. Presently, the Red Line (Corridor 1) remains the busiest, ferrying around 2.45 lakh passengers daily, closely followed by the Blue Line (Corridor 3) with approximately 2.30 lakh commuters. Meanwhile, the Green Line (Corridor 2) records a daily ridership of around 25,000 passengers, managing fewer trips due to the reallocation of train sets to address peak hour congestion on the Blue Line towards Raidurg.
To alleviate rush hour congestion, the government has instructed L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad (L&TMRH) to consider leasing additional metro train sets. Plans to lease train sets from Nagpur Metro are underway, although they haven’t materialized yet, according to authoritative sources. The current infrastructure, inclusive of overhead stations, is constructed to accommodate six-coach train sets, potentially doubling passenger capacity. However, L&TMRH reported a loss of approximately ₹1,315 crore this year, prompting inquiries into future plans for acquiring new train sets. The firm’s request for financial aid from the government due to project delays attributed to bureaucratic hurdles is a documented concern.
Amidst ongoing developments, bids from companies, notably L&T and NCC, to secure the ₹6,250 crore contract for the 31-km Airport Metro from Raidurg to Shamshabad airport’s domestic terminal, underscore the expansion aspirations. The impending government transition poses challenges for capital infusion, essential to kick-start these pending projects. Furthermore, the proposed 5.5 km ₹1,800 crore Old City line from MGBS to Falaknuma awaits immediate attention. Concurrently, Bengaluru has surpassed Hyderabad, becoming the country’s second-highest metro line with 74 km, following New Delhi’s extensive 392 km metro line network.