Pune Metro rail plan should integrate other transport modes: DMRC

PUNE: The detailed project report for Pune metro rail has emphasized on the need for traffic integration as it would help offer maximum advantage to commuters.

The report, prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, states: “Various modes of transport need to be integrated in a way that each mode supplements the other. A large number of metro rail users will come to and depart from various stations by various modes of transport including public transport buses, autorickshaws or taxis, and by their personal vehicles. Therefore integration facilities need to be provided at stations to ensure quick and convenient transfers.”

Facilities at metro stations have been planned for not only road-based transport modes such as buses, autorickshaws and private vehicles, but also for providing easy access to pedestrians. The integration facilities at metro stations include approach roads to stations, circulation facilities for passengers as well as vehicles including buses, and pedestrian ways. Parking for private vehicles has been proposed close to the station entrances.

Incidentally, a computer model employed for traffic demand projections also provides a breakup of the load (pedestrians, buses, hired vehicles and private vehicles) that will be faced at metro stations. According to the report, the vehicular movement has been further broken up into hired and private vehicles on station-to-station basis. This has been done by assessing the socio-economic profile of the catchment areas and the distance likely to be travelled by commuters before and after using the metro rail. Inter-change with railways has been considered. For transferring passengers efficiently from roads to platforms and vice versa, station planning has been based on established principles of pedestrian flow and arranged to minimize unnecessary walking distances and cross-flows between incoming and outgoing passengers. Facilities for handling passengers include stairs, escalators, lifts and ticket gates required to process the peak traffic from roads to platforms and vice versa. These facilities, the report says must also enable evacuation of the station under emergency conditions, within a set safe time limit.

Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrians First, a group working on issues concerning pedestrians and sustainable transport says the feeder systems are of much significance as it will have an impact on the utilization of the metro services. “Making provision for parking of vehicles at stations is very important, because if there are no parking facilities, people will prefer to use their vehicle for their entire trip from house to the destination point. The metro rail is only a link. People will have to use different modes – either by walk, or use feeder buses, use bicycles or reach the station by autorickshaws or use their own vehicles. If people do not find it convenient to use any of these modes to reach the metro station, it will affect the utilization of the metro,” he said. Inamdar said that the only big question is that as the metro between Vanaz and Ramwadi passes through highly congested areas of the city, it would be a challenge for authorities to provide parking facilities, and pedestrian access at stations.

Jugal Rathi of the PMP Pravasi Manch, a major bus commuters group said planning for the feeder services and seamless transport integration should begin now. “In Mumbai, the bus services and suburban rail services complement each other. In the same way, the civic authorities cannot neglect city bus services, pedestrian access and amenities for bus passengers. The metro will become a liability, if the civic authorities neglect the feeder services,” Rathi said.