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Rediff.com  » Business » Will Gadkari's pod taxi dream ever come true?

Will Gadkari's pod taxi dream ever come true?

December 13, 2016 15:12 IST

The estimated cost of the metrino is Rs 50 crore per km and each pod can accommodate three to four persons, Megha Manchanda/Business Standard reports from New Delhi.


IMAGE: The estimated cost of the metrino is Rs 50 crore per km and each pod can accommodate three to four persons. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Metrino PRT

 

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari's pet project of a pod taxi service is unlikely to take off soon. The minister has been talking about a seamless ride to millennium city Gurugram from Delhi's Dhaula Kuan on a metrino or a pod taxi.

The Niti Aayog, the central government’s policy think-tank, is looking at safety aspects of the personal rapid transit project. V K Saraswat, the consultant for the project, is expected to submit his report to the ministry next year.

In the past, the indigenously designed SkyBus was scrapped after the Konkan Railway found it unviable. A water-taxi service on the lines of the one in New York was envisaged from Mumbai to Mandwa, a popular beach destination, but is yet to become a reality.

Recently, the Elon Musk-backed Hyperloop Transportation Technologies said it was ready to build a hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune. The hyperloop runs faster than aircraft at a speed of 1,120 kmph. Industry insiders, however, claimed the hyperloop was yet to be tried out commercially.

In April, the National Highways Authority of India presented a feasibility report on the metrino project and invited expressions of interest from international agencies for its execution.

The ropeway-like system runs on electricity and driverless pods descend at designated stations.

The estimated cost of the metrino is Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) per km and each pod can accommodate three to four persons.

According to a person close to the development, not much has moved on implementation of the project announced by Gadkari earlier this year. The implementation will lie with the Union ministry of road transport and highways.

An official said some spots, including Rajiv Chowk and Sohna Road Chowk in Gurugram, had been identified for pilot projects. Decisions on technical specifications and other modalities like suspension and support would be left to the concessionaire, the official added.

No official in the road transport ministry divulged the actual time of submission of expressions of interest, but according to a source, work on the report was at a premature stage and would take some time to complete.

The project may fructify, if at all, only late next year. The pilot study can only begin after NITI Aayog submits its report, after which interested players will be selected to undertake trials spread over six months.

A metrino system was also being planned to connect the Golden Temple with the Amritsar railway station but was shelved over costs, a road transport ministry official said.

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