HYDERABAD: The restart of Metro services from September 7 in the city has come as a huge relief to citizens, who have been shelling out a fortune for cabs and autos for the past few months. However, experts and commuters are raising questions on how the government plans to tackle the issue of last-mile connectivity without city buses, considering the Metro isn’t accessible to many parts of Hyderabad.
While the Metro will help a significant number of commuters, especially in the heart of the city, several vital routes catering to a larger population in the northern and southern parts of the GHMC limits will remain unattended without the TSRTC.
The HMRL’s peak ridership has been around 4-5 lakh, whereas the TSRTC has been catering to nearly 30-33 lakh people on the GHMC routes. Experts say that in the last five months, when buses and the Metro weren’t operational, people resorted to share autos and cabs, which are nearly as cheap as public transport. Without the TSRTC, a lion’s share of commuters will have to continue to depend on share autos and cabs, even as the Metro reopens. Question is, how safe are these alternative modes of commute?
“People find it difficult to maintain social distancing in share autos and cabs. The State government must come up with a plan on how bus services can resumed for commuters who do not have access to the Metro. Buses are better than share autos and cabs because commuters can maintain social distancing in those,” said Chaitanya Kanuri, Urban Transport Manager at WRI India.
Experts also say while the Metro isn’t accessible to many, it could allay fears of public transport being a catalyst for Covid transmission. “Metro resumption will be a positive experiment, and will help the TSRTC get a good start in the near future. It will send across the message of public transport being safer,” said Prashanth Bachu, an urban transport expert.