Speaking about expansion plans, Mangu Singh said that last mile connectivity and land acquisition continue to remain a challenge.
As the Delhi Metro completes 25 years since launch, DMRC is planning to refurbish at least 80 coaches that were introduced in Phase 1. Mangu Singh, Managing Director of DMRC told Moneycontrol that the plan is to upgrade the coaches with facilities like those in modern coaches.
These coaches were brought in from South Korea in 2002 and most of them were deployed on the Red Line.
"As far as the first set of trains are concerned, we are going ahead with regular maintenance and refurbishment on systems and sub systems. There is no issue on that. However, there are areas like rolling stock coaches where the floor or panels are worn down or for that matter air-conditioners are not functioning to the optimum capacity. So we have decided to refurbish 80 such coaches of Phase 1," he said.
DMRC has also decided to include modern facilities that exist in newer coaches, like electronic display, in the old coaches. "These are the some of the things that we have decided to go ahead with," Singh added.
Speaking about expansion plans, he said that last mile connectivity and land acquisition continued to remain a challenge. DMRC has realised that feeder buses are not the best solution for last mile connectivity.
"The better solution would be to have a more flexible approach. Have smaller vehicles, e-rickshaws, e-autos or even scooters, cycle sharing. Our emphasis is on that now," he stated.
Although Delhi Metro introduced feeder buses, the experience was "...not very good. Feeder buses were running as normal buses in the city and the routes were not suiting us," Singh said.
"We went in for cluster buses system, where the operator would be paid for running the actual service rather than the number of passengers, but the air conditioned, electric buses are not really available. There was hardly any competition in the market so the cost was very high. We had to cancel those tenders," he shared.
As far as overcrowding in trains is concerned, things have improved drastically in the last two to three years, he claimed.
"We have added capacity in the form of additional trains and coaches. Barring peak hours, the trains are not that crowded on the entire network. This has been achieved because of inter-change points that we have created. It is because of this that overcrowding at Rajiv Chowk has reduced drastically," he pointed out.
Speaking about land acquisition, he stressed that DMRC has learnt a lot from Phase 3.
"Massive portions of land are required to construct depots and to get such huge land tracts is difficult and takes time," he said.
"Whenever such land is available, there are trees that need to be cut. Hence, we have decided that instead of going for new depots, we will augment existing depots," he said."We will try to use existing areas in a more intensive manner and if need be go one level above. This will reduce delays in procuring land and we will not have to seek permission to cut trees," he said.LIVE NOW... Video series on How to Double Your Monthly Income... where Rahul Shah, Ex-Swiss Investment Banker and one of India's leading experts on wealth building, reveals his secret strategies for the first time ever. Register here to watch it for FREE.