Union Housing & Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Friday said that the length of India's metro network would surpass that of the USA in the next 2 to 3 years to become the 2nd largest in the world. Currently India's metro network is the 3rd largest in the world.

Addressing the inaugural session of 16th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference cum Expo 2023 here, the minister said that the pace of growth of metro network in the country has seen an unprecedented increase in recent years.

"In 2014, only 248 km of metro rail was operational in India. Merely in 9 years, 895 km of metro lines are operational in 20 different cities today," he said.

India's metro rail
India's metro railIANS

The minister said that the metro network has brought comfort, stability and security to the lives of our citizens. "I am happy to note that the metro network has a daily ridership of around 1 crore", he said.

He said that the ridership number is going to increase with ease of last mile connectivity, and other factors.

The minister said that the approach of the government towards issues pertaining to urban transport has witnessed a significant change after 2014. The rapid urbanisation has been embraced as an opportunity rather than a challenge during this period, he remarked.

The minister also pointed out the importance of Regional Rapid Transit System and Vande Bharat Trains in regional and inter-city connectivity.

He said that the country has gone through a major transformation in the field of rail-based rapid transit systems.

Highlighting the efforts of government to overhaul urban transport in the country and switch towards environmental-friendly means of transport, the minister said that a beginning in this direction has been made through initiatives such as FAME- I, FAME-II, and PM-eBus Seva Scheme.

Namma Metro
Bengaluru Metro IANS

He said that the PM-e-bus Sewa scheme will augment city bus operations; while giving priority to cities that lack organised bus services. Another 10,000 e-buses will be deployed on a PPP model in 169 cities alongside support for associated infrastructure, bus depot and behind the meter power infrastructure.

The scheme also envisages environment-friendly initiatives like bus priority infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) based Automatic Fare Collection System (AFCS), Charging infrastructure, etc. under Green Urban Mobility Initiatives (GUMI).

Sharing his thoughts on the development of sustainable Urban Transport, the minister highlighted that besides promoting green mobility through e-vehicles, the focus has also been placed on biofuel blending, clean energy alternatives -biogas, Green Hydrogen etc.

(With inputs from IANS)