NEW DELHI :
Delhi Metro Rail Corp. (DMRC) Ltd, which has significantly improved public transportation across the national capital region (NCR), is looking to adopt innovative, sustainable and cleaner modes of transport to plug the last-mile connectivity gap. In its endeavour to do so, DMRC has tied up with startups offering e-mobility solutions.
Most Delhi Metro commuters typically use private mobility options, such as mini buses, e-rickshaws, e-scooters, cycle-sharing services, and cab-booking kiosks, besides their own vehicles, to reach their final destination from metro stations. The clamour for strengthening the public transport system is rising amid massive congestion on urban roads and toxic pollution engulfing the national capital.
As the Delhi government headed by Arvind Kejriwal gears up for the 2020 Assembly elections, DMRC, which has built the largest metro network in the country spanning 377km, is leaving no stone unturned to offer a plethora of options for safe last-mile connectivity. The state-owned company is increasing the use of e-scooters and cycles, in line with the government’s efforts to encourage adoption of electric mobility. In the past two months, DMRC has tied up with micro-mobility startup Yulu, e-scooter firm qQuick, and cab hailing company Uber to offer such services.
“The existing facilities of last-mile connectivity will be further enhanced based on requirements across the DMRC network. In future, if we find any viable and sustainable technologies or innovative modes of transport that can meet last mile connectivity requirements, we will certainly explore them," DMRC’s executive director Anuj Dayal said in an interview.
Yulu, which tied up with DMRC in September, is now operational across 12 metro stations. The average usage of Yulu e-bikes from seven stations, including Khan Market, Jor Bagh, Patel Chowk, Pragati Maidan, Mandi House, INA, and JLN stadium is 870 trips per day, according to DMRC.
Battery-operated rickshaw services are also available at 15 metro stations, serving 80,000-90,000 passengers on weekdays. Delhi-based startup SmartE, which was launched more than four years ago, had deployed 30 vehicles across three metro stations in West Delhi. Its fleet size has grown to more than 1,000 electric rickshaws in Delhi NCR, after it officially tied up with Delhi Metro. In three-four months, it plans to cover 50 metro stations and deploy 10,000 vehicles at 100 stations in 18-24 months, said startup founder Goldie Srivastava.
“Our growth journey has been strategically linked with DMRC’s priority of providing economically viable and environment friendly last mile connectivity to the commuters. Within 18 months, we want to grow exponentially and get to half-million rides daily in less than a year," he said.
Uber, which tied up with Delhi Metro in October, plans dedicated pick-up and drop-off areas to support the metro network across NCR. Greenolution started operating 32 cycle stands at 26 metro stations on 30 October, DMRC said.
Encouragement of different mobility forms would act as a feeder to the public transport system be it a bus or a metro, said Rameesh Kailasam, chief executive officer of think tank IndiaTech. “Mobility solutions such as bike taxis, are one the best modes of transport when it comes to last mile connectivity when we talk of our urban stretches that run through narrow by-lanes of cities and short distance rides," he said.