By bappaditya paul
Kolkata’s Metro Railway has become the highest passenger density train service in the country, surpassing the busy Mumbai Suburban Railway. On this count, the Metro Railway is also far ahead of its counterpart ~ the Delhi Metro.
According to a recent study conducted by the Metro Railway authorities, the Metro in Kolkata carries 17,728 passengers per km. Against this, while the Mumbai Suburban Railway carries 14,924 passengers per km and the number of passengers transported by the Delhi Metro, per km, is 8,434.
The study has been carried out on the basis of latest available figures dating from April to November 2011, said Mr Surajit Kumar Das, the chief operations manager (COM) of the Metro Railway.
The Metro network in Kolkata runs up to 25.135 km; the Delhi Metro has a network of 189.70 km and the Mumbai Suburban Railway network is spread over 465 km.
Furthermore to the transportation of highest number of passengers per km, the Metro Railway in Kolkata is also ahead of both the Delhi Metro and the Mumbai Suburban Railway, vis-à-vis, number of passengers carried per coach.
While a train coach in Delhi Metro and the Mumbai Suburban Railway transports 160 and 247 passengers per trip, respectively; a Metro Railway coach in Kolkata carries 266 commuters on every trip, the study has revealed.
A Delhi Metro train (rake) usually comprises four to six coaches; a Mumbai Suburban train has nine to 15 coaches and the number of coaches in the Kolkata Metro train is fixed at eight.
At the present rate, while the Mumbai Suburban Railway runs 28,104 coach trips per day; Delhi Metro plies 10,000 coach trips and the number of coach trips operated by the Metro Railway in Kolkata is 1,672.
“The number of people availing the Metro Railway service has also witnessed a steady growth over the past few years,” the COM said. “In 2007-08, the rise was 4.89 per cent over the previous year; in 2008-09 it became 4.91 per cent; in 2009-10 it was 8.31 per cent; in 2010-11 it stood at 16.31 per cent and up till November this fiscal, the passenger growth was 3.56 per cent.”
This, notwithstanding, the poor condition of the non-AC rakes that the Metro Railway has and the malfunctioning of the five new AC rakes that have joined its fleet in the past one year or so.
Metro Railway general manager, Mr Peri Bhaskar Murty, said they were focusing on augmenting the overall infrastructure so to meet the ever-growing passenger pressure.
“It was really so heartening when we found out that Metro Railway now has the highest passenger density among all train services in the country. But this does not make us profitable and we will have to focus on commercial utilisation of our real estate to sustain the organisation,” Mr Murty said.
(The author is on the staff of The Statesman, India. This report was first published in The Statesman on 13 January 2012.)