By V. Geetanath
The Hyderabad Metro Rail project still lacks an efficient first and last-mile connectivity and a common ticket for different commutes even as it sees a steady rise in passengers with the number inching towards three-lakh mark every day.
Once the Raidurg station on Corridor 3 gets operational, trains with better frequency would ensure more passengers to hop in and ease crowd pressure during peak hours, but a lot more effort is needed to make the first and last-mile connectivity towards metro stations reliable and affordable.
Shuttle services are being run by some firms at Hi-Tec City and Durgam Cheruvu stations, while the L&T Metro Rail is running them from stations like Secunderabad East, Tarnaka, Mettuguda and others. Yet, these are either insufficient or the frequency of 15-30 minutes is not working out, if passengers reactions are anything to go by.
“I have shifted back to MMTS, which is less-crowed and also convenient to get transport from the railway station to my office at Kondapur. Metro ride was comfortable, but after alighting at Hi-Tec City, it is a nightmare to get into shuttle bus or shared auto-rickshaws packed to capacity,” says Kusuma, an IT professional, travelling from Begumpet.
“Unless you share the auto, the fare is flat ₹50 or ₹100 at metro stations to travel to nearby offices or residences,” was the most heard comment. Kalpana, a banking professional, thinks it is more convenient to take a shared cab from Mahendra Hills to Jubilee Hills Check Post than travel in metro.
“Commute by auto or cab to Parade Grounds station from home and again to office from Jubilee Hills Check Post metro station is more than double the metro ticket fare. It is more convenient to take a shared cab with my colleagues,” she says. Or take the case of Murthy, a private sector employee, commuting to Begumpet from Bandlaguda.
He changes two buses or shared autos to reach Nagole/Uppal metro station spending ₹40 in either direction.
Those sharing a cab shell out about ₹50-₹80 per head to catch the metro rail moving towards Ameerpet and from onward to Hi-Tec City. “We have an RTC depot in the vicinity, but after a couple of months of shuttle services, they were withdrawn,” says Mr. Murthy.
“Time travelled in metro is being wasted waiting for half-hour shuttle service every day,” tweeted Prashant M., travelling to DLF from Hi-Tec City. And, the promise of a common ticket for use through metro, auto, cabs, bus and train could have prevented unfettered fare rip-offs, but it is not in sight.