While the ridership on the newly launched Aqua Line has been dipping since its launch, a connection to the Blue Line should change that, Noida Metro Rail Corporation executive director P D Upadhyay tells The Indian Express.
Days after the Aqua Line launch that connects Noida and Greater Noida, what has been the corporation’s assessment of ridership?
On the first day, we saw a ridership of almost 13,000. It has declined since then. The primary reason is that the Aqua Line is a standalone Metro route so far. It runs between Sector 51 station till Bus Depot in Greater Noida. We are hoping for a positive increment in ridership once it is connected to the Blue Line. The Blue Line extension is expected to be operational by March. Riders will have to walk merely 100 metres to the Blue Line station, as opposed to travelling to Botanical Garden or Noida City Centre from Sector 51. This will impact the Aqua Line commuter numbers greatly.
How is the Corporation ensuring last-mile connectivity to stations?
We have launched a number of Metro feeder bus services in sectors between 51 and 76 in Noida, which are densely populated. Apart from buses, a Multi Modal Integration (MMI) of e-rickshaws, e-bikes, e-cycles has been planned. While pathways for pedestrians and cycle tracks are already available at some stations as part of non-motorised transport system, foot overbridges to societies and plazas are also being planned.
What were the technical challenges you faced?
Like any Metro construction, there are various challenges due to geography of the area. We need to build with extreme precision since these constructions are long-term exercises. But we managed to enter record books for installing 200 girders in a month, despite difficulties. The girders make up a stretch of approximately of 2.7 km of elevated Metro tracks. All Metro stations are also equipped with solar panels to save electricity.
What is the progress on the next phase?
The second phase is in the approval stage. The Chief Minister himself assured, during inauguration, that work for the next phase will be carried out promptly. So far, Greater Noida Industrial Authority has given approval for the 9-station stretch of almost 25 km. The second phase will be built in two stages in which five stations between Noida Sector 51 to Sector 2 in Greater Noida will be connected. After that, a route will be built between Sector 3 and Knowledge Park V in Greater Noida. We hope to complete the approval process by the end of this year to begin construction next year.