The Delhi Metro
Rail Corporation (DMRC) has chalked out mega last-mile connectivity plans for its riders, with increased focus on e-rickshaws
and the park-and-ride facility (a system in which drivers leave their vehicles in parks on city outskirts and travel to the city centre on public transport).
Though the feeder bus service will remain a key transport option, the DMRC
plans to hand over its operations to the State Transport Authority
(STA) and the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System as “70 per cent” of its riders are “non-Metro” passengers.
For safer last-mile connectivity in Gurugram, the DMRC, in collaboration with Smart-E company, on Monday launched 1,000 e-rickshaws
at five metro stations.
Currently, the DMRC
operates 291 feeder buses on 42 approved routes, connecting 54 Metro stations and catering to nearly two lakh passengers on a daily basis. However, unauthorised feeder buses and e-rickshaws
are not only hurting the revenues of the DMRC
but also posing challenges related to passenger safety and the corporation’s credibility.
During a meeting with a top Delhi government official earlier this year, the DMRC
had said since fares were fixed by the STA, the running of buses was not financially viable and, therefore, required investment from the state government. The DMRC
had also said the Delhi government was not cooperative. “The State Transport Authority
is unable to regulate other modes of transport like e-rickshaw and Grameen Sewa that competed with its feeder buses,” said an official.
In January 2017, the DMRC
floated expression of interest
(EoI) to procure, operate and maintain e-rickshaws.
The corporation also wants that for proper operation and management of the e-rickshaw service, it should be permitted to exclusively use the service roads, wherever available, and for the financial viability of the project, advertisement rights should be granted.
Smart-E is primarily focused on the Delhi-NCR region for the e-rickshaw service. “By the end of this month, we should be able to start the service in Faridabad, next month in Manesar, and by the end of the year in Noida,” Goldie Srivastava, co-founder and chief executive officer of Smart E, told Business Standard.
Srivastava said e-rickshaws
would be GPS-enabled, besides being certified by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), to ensure safety of commuters as well as the vehicle.
The industry also feels three-wheelers and e-rickshaws
do not compete with each other as the dynamics are very different for both the modes. For instance, e-rickshaw is a shared commuter experience and hence cheaper than autos that usually do not ply for a measly sum of Rs 10.
“As far as autos are concerned, the economics takes care of competition,” Srivastava said, adding the tie-up with the DMRC
was a step towards multi-modal transportation as prices were predetermined, and for the commuter, it was a seamless transport experience.