Kolkata: Two stretches of the city’s Metro, set to become functional in 2018, may change the way Kolkatans commute daily.
According to a TOI report the first phase of the East-West Metro will be thrown open to commuters by the middle of next year. Similarly, the first phase of the New Garia-Airport will also be completed by the end of 2018. Kolkatans will have a hang of what is going to be the second biggest Metro network after Delhi.
The coming year is will be ‘Metro momentum year’, with the Bengal government having played a crucial role in removing major impediments on the way of Metro corridors — mostly making requisite land available. “We hope to expedite most of the Metro projects which were limping due land issues. We’ll run Metro along all the alignments by 2021,” said asenior Metro official.
While the first phase of the East-West Metro — from Sector Vin Salt Lake to Phoolbagan in east Kolkata — is scheduled to be thrown open in June 2018, the New Garia – Airport stretch is likely to start in December 2018. Both stretches, though not completely, will alleviate the trauma of travelling across the city significantly.
Thanks to the crucial shift towards state railways cooperation, the Metro corridors are taking shape in a significant manner. All alignments were conceived and announced by chief minister Mamata Banerjee back when she was the Union railways minister in 2010-11. “We have now overcome most of the hurdles. Once the entire network is ready, commuting will witness a revolution. A lot of pressure will be off the road and emission load will reduce substantially,” said Narayan Swarup Nigam, state nodal officer, Metro affairs.
With the Metro alignments inching towards reality, Bengal transport department is also focusing on modal rationalization. “Once the alignments are functional, several bus and auto routes parallel to them will be unviable. We’re working on the synergy of modes of transport. What we’ll require is several vertical and latitudinal routes from the alignments in tune with the Metro network,” said a senior traffic and transportation engineer.
Efforts are afoot to integrate multiple modes Metro, circular railway, bus, tram, ferry —through a common ticketing system, modelled on ‘Oyster card’ of Transport for London. This will facilitate seamless modal shift for passenger. The state transport department already met with Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation, Kolkata Metro Railway to make this common ticketing a reality.