Considered a treasure trove of information on the Metro and railways, Dr. E. Sreedharan, known as the Metroman, credited with designing and implementing the swiftest metro network in the country, has recently talked on the possibilities of a metro rail system in Guwahati. Here are edited excerpts:-
Dr. E. Sreedharan: If the population of Guwahati has reached 20 lakhs, it is the right time to plan for a Metro system. Getting approval for the Metro and for its implementation, at least 5 to 6 years are required. But, Metros are highly capital intensive and cannot be financially justified. It can only be justified based on social benefits.
Dr. Sreedharan: The Metro need not be underground always. Whether underground or overhead, Metros can be designed to resist seismic intensity. Japan is situated in the seismic zone but all the big cities of Japan have Metros.
Dr. Sreedharan: It is true Metro Rail is a very costly affair. Conventionally it costs Rs 250 crores per km for the elevated corridor and Rs 450 crores for the underground network. Cheaper options like Bus Rapid Transit System, Light Rapid Transit System, and tramways have lower passenger capacities. Roads would have to be widened for them and this is equally expensive. Most Metros make the mistake of fixing high fares for generating quick revenue. Metro is a social service and should not be guided by business considerations alone. The Metro network must cover most city areas. Ridership will increase only if Metro stations are within half a kilometre of commuter destinations.
Dr. Sreedharan: If you are referring to buses plying on elevated viaducts as sky bus, it is certainly an option. However, the transport capacity of such a system will be very low. Light Metro will be a better alternative.
Dr. Sreedharan: The distance between 2 stations of a Metro system depends upon ridership from the locality. In thickly populated areas, the distance between stations can be 0.8 to 1 km. Where the population density is less, the distance can be 1.5 to 2 km. Source: GPlus