There’s good news for rush-hour Metro Railway commuters. Plans are on to reduce the time lag between trains from eight to six minutes during peak hours and stretch the designated office hours beyond the two hours each in the morning and evening.
A study is being conducted by the authorities on the traffic patterns on the Metro, which caters to nearly 300,000 people every day, to be completed by August 2003. “We will then get a clearer picture of the number of passengers who will travel by Metro next year. Accordingly, we will decide to reduce the time-gap between trains or extend the peak hours,” said Vinod Kumar, Metro Rail general manager, on Thursday. “However, if the study reveals that more trains are required immediately, we can take steps sooner,” he added.
To implement these measures, the Metro is planning to reduce the number of back-up trains and add another rake.
The Metro now has 17 rakes, 10 of which ply between Tollygunge and Dum Dum. Two rakes are kept on standby at the terminals, two are kept for maintenance and the last for periodic overhaul. The 18th rake — damaged in heavy showers back in 1984 — is now to be repaired for operation by next month. The rake had suffered electrical and mechanical damage, and had not been repaired because of a funds crunch. The Metro has tapped indigenous manufacturers for spares.
To reduce the interval between trains, four more rakes will have to be introduced. It takes 80 minutes to complete a full journey from Tollygunge to Dum Dum and back, with 66 minutes spent on the journey and 14 minutes for reversing the direction at the terminals. Currently, 10 rakes are enough, but with the increased frequency, 14 will be required.