Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated via video-conferencing India’s first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi’s Magenta Line connecting Janakpuri West and Botanical Garden along with the fully operational National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) services on the Airport Express Line.
According to an official, the driver-less trains will be fully automated, eliminating the possibility of human error. On the other hand, the National Common Mobility Card, an inter-operable transport facility would allow users to pay for travel, toll duties, retail shopping, and withdraw money using one card.
Besides PM Modi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also attended the virtual event.
PM Modi virtually inaugurates the driverless operations of Delhi Metro’s Magenta Line
Speaking at the event, PM Modi asserted that the start of the driverless train operations in India is an important milestone that underscores how far the country had progressed in assimilating smart systems and new-age technology.
“The first metro in the country was started with the efforts of Atal Ji. When our govt was formed in 2014, only 5 cities had metro services and today 18 cities have metro rail service. By 2025, we will take this service in more than 25 cities,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also asserted that the central government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative is extremely crucial to the development and expansion of metro services since it helps in reducing costs, saving foreign exchange and providing more employment to citizens of the country.
In a scathing attack against the former central governments, PM Modi said that the previous regimes paid no attention to the future and half-hearted work was done amidst persisting confusion. He added that unlike the past, the modern thinking says urbanisation should not be viewed as a challenge but as an opportunity, an opportunity in which country’s infrastructure can be built and ease of living be improved. This difference of thinking is seen in every dimension of urbanisation, said PM Modi.
In the last six years, the country’s metro rail scenario has seen a massive transformation. When PM Modi came to power, only 248 KM of metro lines were operational in five cities. Presently, 702 km are operational in 18 cities in India and plans are underway to have Metro rail connectivity in 27 cities across the country. By 2022, when the country celebrates its 75th Independence Day, India will have a combined metro network of over a thousand kilometre which will carry more than a crore passengers every day, the statement released by DMRC said.
Delhi Metro enters an elite league
With the induction of these new trains, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation would enter into the elite league of 7 per cent of the world’s Metro networks that can operate without drivers, the official statement said. A senior Delhi Metro official also informed that the commercial operation of these trains will begin later today, following the event.
“The driverless trains will be fully automated which will require minimum human intervention and will eliminate the possibilities of human errors. Delhi Metro has been a pioneer in introducing technology-driven solutions for passenger comfort and this is another step in the same direction,” the statement said.
“The driverless trains, set to be a major technological feat, will herald a new era of traveling comfort and enhanced mobility for the residents of Delhi and other cities in the National Capital Region,” the official statement further added.
Following the start of the driverless services along the 37-km Magenta Line, another Delhi Metro corridor, the 57-km Pink Line(Majlis Park- Shiv Vihar) is expected to be soon upgraded for the driverless operations by mid-2021. After the driverless services are operationalised on the Pink Line too, the Delhi Metro will have a driverless network length of about 94 km, which will be roughly 9 per cent of the world’s total driverless metro network.
Driverless trains to be equipped with a ton of advanced features
The driverless trains having six coaches will be a touchstone of the modern mobility solution. Each coach would accommodate a maximum of 380 passengers, which means each train will carry 2,280 passengers.
The trains would be equipped with several advanced features such as better regeneration of energy during braking, energy-efficient subsystems like LED lighting and air conditioning systems. They are designed for a maximum speed of 95 kmph and operational speed of 85 kmph, the Delhi Metro had said.
Initially, drivers will be deputed for operating the trains but they would be gradually withdrawn to move to Unattended Train Operation (UTO).
Future plans of metro in other cities
PM Modi said that RRTS metro system when operational will reduce the time of Delhi-Meerut commute by at least an hour. Similarly, Metro Lite is being implemented in cities with lighter metro-using population at just 40% cost of original metro development costs. Further, Metro Neo is being developed in cities with even fewer metro-using population and uses just 25% of the original cost. Cities with major waterbodies will also have water metro, the PM said.