Analysis of the proposed metro rail system in Pune

Parisar has recently completed two detailed studies on the metro rail proposal for Pune. The first was a preliminary analysis of whether Pune needs a metro rail system and the second analyzed in detail the decision making processes in approving Pune's metro rail proposal as well as the detailed project report (DPR) of the metro rail proposal.

The preliminary analysis of whether Pune needs a metro rail system was based on secondary data from three reports: the DPR prepared by DMRC, the city's Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) and the traffic demand analysis for Pune's DPR prepared by Mott McDonald. It looked only at traffic volume data from these reports to see whether a metro rail was justified on any corridor based on a simple metric of peak hour traffic demand exceeding 20,000 in one direction (though this alone may not be enough to justify a metro). Its conclusions were as follows:

  1. The data given in these reports suggests that, by 2030, some corridors in Pune would have a peak hour traffic demand per hour per direction well in excess of 20,000, thus justifying a metro rail for Pune.
  2. However, the data in the reports were questionable (e.g. one report said Ganeshkhind road carried 41,000 people per direction in the peak hour in 2008 which is plainly not possible).
  3. Therefore, it is necessary to first conduct a detailed review of the data in the three reports and improve it before any conclusion can be reached whether Pune needs a metro rail.
  4. Even if Pune does require a metro rail, many other things must be done before implementing the metro rail such as strengthening modes such as walking, cycling and the bus system and integrating all the modes into a common transport system rather than them being stand alone systems.

This report can be accessed here.

The second study (also published in the Economic and Political Weekly of 5th February 2011) was focused on the current metro rail proposal, and carefully analysed the decision process leading to the approval of this proposal as well as the socio-economic benefits claimed in the proposal such as the time and fuel saved etc.  The study found serious shortcomings in both the decision process as well as the claimed socio-economic benefits. For example, it found that:

  1. Some rather ad hoc decisions have been made such as granting a conditional extension to the Vanaz-Ramwadi corridor to Kharadi and the airport without any studies to back it up.
  2. PMC has made some misleading statements in this regard, such as claiming that the metro was justified by the CMP, though the metro DPR was commissioned before the CMP.
  3. The likely benefits of the metro rail system are only about 40% of what are claimed in the DPR even based on the numbers given in the DPR itself and therefore, the socio-economic benefit of the proposed metro is likely to be negative, i.e. the system is likely to be harmful to Pune's citizens.

This report can be accessed here.

In short, available evidence does not present a strong case for a metro in Pune and the current proposal accepted by the PMC has many serious shortcomings. Hence, Parisar believes that the current proposal must be rejected, and any proposal for a system such as a metro (or monorail) must only be approved after a thorough analysis of its benefits and costs. Until then, PMC must focus on faster, cheaper solutions with much greater potential for social benefit such as  improving PMPML, and conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

This report was covered in some media articles and blogs such as: