Hyderabad Metro Rail ¬ A service too far for most citizens
Completing five years of existence and on the verge of fare revision, the Hyderabad Metro Rail remains inaccessible for several sections of the population — literally as well as figuratively.
Constructed with the promise of affordable and environment-friendly commute for the citizens, the city’s milestone instance of infrastructural advancement is formidable for many in terms of cost and convenience.
One major roadblock that feeds into both aspects is the woeful state of last-mile connectivity, to improve which the government and the Metro Rail authorities have done precious little so far. For several people who reside in colonies nestled far away from arterial roads in the city, travel in Metro Rail proves to be much more expensive than riding a two-wheeler.
“Each time I travel by Metro Rail, I end up spending around three times more than I would spend on two-wheeler and about the same amount I would spend on four-wheeler for the same distance. While the ticket costs only a fraction of the amount, I end up paying a bomb on autorickshaws to cover the first and last miles. Needless to say, I take Metro only under exceptional circumstances, when I am left with no other choice,” says Srishti Mathur, an IT employee who stays at KPHB.
The exceptional circumstances she mentioned are mostly when the city is jammed on all its corners owing to heavy rains.
While HMRL authorities have tied up with a start-up offering shuttle services from the Metro Rail stations, the facility has remained obscure for lack of publicity, and visibility. Majority of the commuters do not know that the shuttles ply, and those who travelled by them, are not very pleased.
“I take the shuttle when it is readily available, but do not wait for it. Part of the reason is their non-availability throughout the day. Even during the hours available, they are not reliable in terms of waiting time. I mostly end up taking RTC buses which are more frequent and more reliable,” said V.Ramanjani Kumari, another commuter who stays at Vanasthalipuram.
Besides, shuttles do not cover the inner lanes and bylanes of the colonies, where majority of the potential commuters stay, for want of affordable accommodation anywhere closer to the Metro Rail stations.
“Instead of waiting for the shuttle services, I might as well take the six-seater autos to reach my destination, at lower price. But I will have to cover about a kilometre distance on foot, which is tiresome and time consuming. Though I love to travel by Metro Rail for its speed and comfort, I am cautious about the effort involved,” says Shravani Tallapragada, who commutes from Hayathnagar.
Lack of parking facilities closer to the metro rail stations at several locations is another downside, due to which the owners of two-wheelers are forced to look for alternatives.