Central Government gives nod to India’s first Metrino Pod Taxi project

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The Central Government has approved country’s first Metrino Pod project i.e. personal rapid transit (PRT) network for Gurgaon, Haryana. It was announced by Haryana Public Works (Building and Roads) Minister, Rao Narbir Singh. The National Highways Authority of India, after completing the groundwork to roll out India's first PRT network, on 7th April released the tender.The pilot project will span a 13km stretch from the Gurgaon-Delhi border to Badshapur Mod on Sohna Road and is estimated to cost Rs 850 crore.

What is Personal rapid transit (PRT) network? 

⇒ A personal rapid transit (PRT) network is made up of small automated vehicles running at close intervals on a guideway with docking stations for passengers to get on and get off. Every pod can take up to five passengers. The average speed of the pods is 60kmph.

 Although a pod can accommodate up to five people, there is also an option to hire an entire pod that will take a passenger straight to the destination, skipping the scheduled stops.

Currently four PRT systems are operational

♦ Morgantown, West Virginia: It is the world's oldest and most extensive PRT system, it moves West Virginia University's student and visitors to a number of popular destinations throughout the city. 

♦ Masdar City, UAE:  Since 2010 a 10-vehicle 2getthere system is in operation at Masdar City. These vehicles are entirely powered by Lithium-Phosphate batteries, allowing a range of 60 kilometers on a 1.5 hour charge and recharged at the angled berth stations. 

♦ London Heathrow Airport: Since 2011 a 21-vehicle Ultra PRT system has run at London Heathrow Airport. It  provides service to 800 passengers per day with a vital link between the T5 Business Car Park and the terminal itself. They offer space for as many as six people and their luggage. At its 25mph top speed, the pod draws only 2kW of electricity.

♦Suncheon, South Korea: The PRT in Suncheon, South Korea are known as SkyCube, they provide an accessible means of transportation to experience the great natural surroundings found in Suncheon. SkyCube runs for 4.64 km from Suncheon’s Dream Bridge to Suncheon’s Literature Center. The path that it runs is surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Suncheon.

Advantages of  PRT system

  1. It is highly accessible, user-responsive, environmentally friendly transport system which offers a sustainable and economic solution.
  2. It cover cover its operating costs, and provide a return which could pay for most, if not all, of its capital costs.
  3. It provides a level of service which is superior to that available from conventional public transport.
  4. It has been well received by the public, both public transport and car users.

Funding for the project :

 It will be completely private project and as for financing, the entire investment will be made by the private company that sets up the PRT.

 Under the terms of the agreement, the company will recover its investment in 25 years through tickets. The fare of Metrino Pod taxi would be similar to that of Metro.

 As per the estimates prepared by the NHAI, while building a  kilometre of Metro costs at least Rs 250 crore and of monorail Rs 200 crore, the Metrino system can be built with just Rs 70 crore. It's lighter as well.

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