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DMRC may go for multi-level parking

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Paucity of land for parking areas While a grave situation stares Delhi'ites in the face due to lack of adequate parking, it remains to be seen if all these measure would prove enough

NEW DELHI: With many of its parking lots already running full and the land owning agencies not allotting it sufficient land for parking facilities, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is now relying heavily on introduction of more feeder bus services and creation of multi-level parking lots in order to meet the needs of the travelling public and tide over the impending parking crisis.

As its ridership is expected to go up by over 10 times from the present level of around 1.5 lakhs in the coming nine months, the Corporation is now hard-pressed for making arrangements for the commuters since absence of feeder buses or parking space can result in lower volumes and as a result lower revenue.

A senior DMRC official said multi-level parking is being thought of to tide over the paucity of land for parking area. Noting that the problem of land is especially acute on Line 2, which is partly operational from Delhi University to Kashmere Gate at present and would be extended up to Central Secretariat in June 2005, he said on this line land has only been made available at Delhi University and Patel Chowk for creation of parking spaces.

Since this underground line passes through the Walled City and the commercial hub of Connaught Place in Lutyens' Delhi, DMRC did not get land for parking spaces at most of the stations. However, it has been more fortunate in this respect along many of the stations on Line 1 from Shahdara to Rithala and on Line 3 from Dwarka to Barakhamba, that is due to open in December 2005.

But even here land is at a premium. In all the 23 stations put together from Dwarka to Barakhamba, only about 38,000 square metre of land has been made available for parking which in effect can only accommodate a total of around 500 cars and around 10,000 two wheelers - a pittance in comparison to the number of motorists who would actually like to drive in their vehicles to the stations before taking the Metro.

The problems which the upcoming Line 3 would experience are already visible on the operational Line 1.

Here for a total of 10 stations from Tri Nagar to Rithala have just about enough space for parking of about 430 cars and about 5,000 two-wheelers.

In a city with a vehicular population of over 3 million functional vehicles, these figures really mean nothing if the Metro is to really provide an alternative mode of travel to motorists.

Realising this, the DMRC is on the one hand considering multi-level parking. But since that is an expensive proposition and it would first like to gauge the actual volumes once Phase I of the project becomes fully operations in March 2006, with the opening of the Barakhamba-Indraprastha stretch of Line 3, it is for the time being focussing more on feeder services.

Already 18 RTV routes and 85 feeder bus routes have been made operational. These include 16 Delhi Transport Corporation routes for Rithala, Rohini East, Rohini West, Pitampura and Netaji Subhash Place; 14 DTC routes for Shahdara, Welcome and Seelampur; and 10 DTC routes for Inderlok Metro Station.

The DMRC is, however, not satisfied with the progress yet and has now launched a scheme for private operators to run RTV and similar vehicles on feeder routes to Metro stations.

Also in order to augment transport facilities on these routes, it has started assisting private operators in obtaining stage carriage permits from the State Transport Authority of Delhi.

Already, a DMRC official said, permits have been obtained for four routes under this scheme while the process of acquiring permits for three more routes is underway.

But while a grave situation stares Delhi'ites in the face due to lack of adequate parking, it remains to be seen if all these measure would prove enough.

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