Hyderabad: It seems Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited is in no mood to address public grievances.
Despite anticipating 4.5 lakh footfalls, the metro authorities were not interested in increasing coaches, rather they would increase the frequency. Metro authorities even claimed that the current footfall of 3.06 lakh was expected and to cater to that demand, they had increased the number of trips to 70.
Officials even stressed that HMRL would not deploy additional trains to facilitate commuters and said the very idea of a metro was to transport the maximum number of people with limited resources.
Though commuters were subjected to suffocation and congestion in the metro cars, L&T was reluctant to increase the number of coaches as per the demand put forward by HMRL. The Authorities said that situation would remain the same even though the footfall increased to 8 lakh by next year once operations on corridor 2 from JBS to MGBS begins.
However, commuters have to bear the brunt despite paying to the costliest public transport system.
As per the current flow, the commuters travelling in the metro were forced to stand in congested coaches often making them feel suffocated. Commuters claimed during peak hours when there was a heavy rush, it was becoming very difficult to breathe apart from the fact, they entered their respective offices with sweaty faces.
While the metro coaches can only accommodate 126 passengers sitting and 848 passengers standing, currently more than 1000 passengers have been travelling in each coach per trip. With the increase of footfall from 2.60 lakh in March to 3.06 lakh in August, the metro authorities have enhanced the trips from 710 to 770.
Sources said that the underlying war between L&T and HMRL has made passengers face collateral damage in the world’s biggest public private partnership (PPP).
However, HMRL officials, on record, defend L&T saying that the increase in the number of trips would certainly resolve public inconvenience. They said that the increase in number of coaches just to facilitate commuters would not make the project viable. With the HMRL predicting 4.5 lakh footfalls by December, after the commencement of operations from Raidurg (Mindspace) metro station, the patience of commuters would be further tested as more than 1200 passengers would travel in each coach despite the increase the frequency to one minute.
“The very idea of metros across the world is to transport the maximum number of people with limited coaches. To cater to the needs of the passengers, HMRL has been running 60 additional trips with four minute frequency and air conditioner temperatures dropping to 23 degrees,” says Mr NVS Reddy managing director HMRL. He said that increasing the number of coaches would not be viable for the project and once the footfall was increased to 4.5 lakh by the year end and 8 lakh by next year, the frequency of the metro would be increased to 2 minutes where a maximum number of people would be carried to their destinations comfortably. When this newspaper tried to reach L&T officials over the increase of coaches to meet the current and future demand, they were unavailable for comment.