The state capital will wake up to a new skyline on Wednesday with four-coach metro trains chugging on an elevated 9.63 km standard gauge stretch from the city’s residential area Mansarovar to the business hub in Chandpole. Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje will flag off the first metro train at 11am on Wednesday and the service will be thrown open to the public from 2 pm onwards.
Touted as one of the fastest metros in terms of construction time, the link despite missing several deadlines repeatedly will still keep its slot as one of the fastest infrastructure projects in the country. According to projected estimates, the line will ferry approximately 1.2 lakh passengers per day but to begin with the Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation is hoping to get at least 30,000 passengers on board per day.
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Jaipur Metro will start off with a total of 10 four-coach trains making 131 trips each day between the two terminal stations at a frequency of 10 minutes in peak hours and 15 minutes in off-peak hours. Commercial train operations will take place from 6.45 am to 9 pm everyday with fewer train trips (115) on Sundays. Fare for the nine km stretch will be in three slabs of Rs. 5, Rs. 10 and Rs. 15.
The link with nine metro stations is expected to come as a boon for tourists who are now at the mercy of a poor and unregulated intra-city transportation system. The overhead stretch from Mansarovar to Chandpole right outside the Walled City is also expected to ease traffic congestion in the crowded shopping hub.
Following close on its heels, a 2.3 km underground stretch that is already under construction will take the link further into the Walled City stopping right outside the popular Hawa Mahal.
Right from the beginning of her second term in office, Raje disapproved of the implementation of the metro rail project, a brainchild of former CM Ashok Gehlot. The 12km east-west corridor from Mansarovar to Badi Chaupar was one of Gehlot’s big ticket projects that he had expected to flag off by the end of his tenure. Though work progressed well on Phase 1A Mansarovar to Chandpole, the 9.5 km elevated section, the remaining 2.5 underground stretch could not see light of the day. Further disruptions in labour supply and other related issues led to inordinate delays in the elevated section and before it could be commissioned for commercial operations Gehlot was voted out of power.