The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) says its high-tech rail network is going “vastly” faster and cheaper than it ever has.
But for the most part, the agency says, the network is only a fraction of what the government says it needs to meet its ambitious goal of making the metro fully electric by 2022.
The agency says its rail system is moving at speeds of up to 600 kmph, which is faster than most countries and about half the speed of an average high-rise.
The Delhi Metropolitan Region Development Authority says it’s about 600 km per hour faster than the speed at which it operates trains in the U.S. and Germany.
But the DMRC has said it needs about 4,500 kmph to get from Delhi to Indore, an area that’s home to about 2 million people.
And, to get there, the DMMC is building two stations on the Delhi Metro, and building more stations, the latest example of the company’s growing ambitions.
DMRC chairman Anil Ambani says the network will be fully electric within two years, and then fully electrified in 2022, when it will be operational.
Ambani’s company has invested about $50 billion in the project.
But Delhi Metro’s plans for rapid rail have drawn criticism from civil society groups and other advocacy groups.
A joint statement from the Indian Railway Employees Union, the National Council of Civil Liberties and the Centre for Social Justice (CSCJ) called for an independent inquiry into the high- speed rail system.
The DMRC said it will cooperate with the CSCJ inquiry.
A key question is whether DMRC is meeting its goals by the deadline for electric trains to begin operating in 2021.
The agency says it will do so, and that it’s taking measures to make sure the system will be ready for the 2020 Olympics.
The DMRC says it has already built a network of high-voltage cables for electrifying trains in Indore and other areas.
The project was funded by the Delhi government and the private sector, including the DMTC.
Ambati said in the press release that he is confident that the network of cables will be able to meet all of the deadlines.
In the meantime, the Metro board says it is taking steps to make the network more cost effective.
It has reduced fares on tickets purchased on a debit card, and has begun charging fares to people who don’t have debit cards.
And the agency has also announced that a new fare card will be used to pay for rail passes for passengers traveling on the Metro.
DMTC says it plans to use more transit modes, including bike-sharing and Uber-style rides, in the coming years.
It says it wants to expand its metro service to new areas.
“It is not enough to look at the Delhi metro and say, how are we going to expand the metro service,” Ambani said.
“We have to make it even more accessible and useful to the people.”
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