Time and fuel consuming traffic jams in the Capital are a major reason why a significant percentage of people have chosen to leave their private vehicles at home and opt for the Delhi Metro railway.

According to a survey conducted by the Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) among metro users, 23.27 per cent of the respondents cited traffic jams as the main reason for their shifting to the metro. For the rest, making the transition from private to public transport was a consequence of endless parking problems, safety, time and comfort.

The results of CRRI’s survey, made public by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, indicate that while 5.14 per cent of the respondents opted for the metro because of parking problems, 16.51 per cent said it was reduction in commuting time that made them shift to the metro.

“With the number of commuters on the Delhi Metro rising, the environmental and social benefits gained by the city because of the mass transport system will help recover the full cost of Phase I two years earlier than anticipated by the CRRI,” said a senior DMRC official.

The official added that according to a recent CRRI study, the break-even cost of Phase I would be achieved in December 2011. CRRI had carried out a similar study in 2007 when it had concluded that the cost of Phase I would be recovered by 2013.

“The advancement of the break-even point by two years is mainly because of the increasing ridership of the metro, which was 500,345 per day in 2007 and has gone up to 850,170 now in 2009 when CRRI conducted the fresh review study. The economic rate of return also went up from 16.90 per cent to 19.98 per cent in these two years because of the increase in ridership,” the official said.

Attempting to quantify the social and economic benefits of the metro, DMRC officials said the survey pegs the value of accrued benefits of Phase I at Rs.10,801.64 crore by the end of March 2012, while the cost of construction of Phase I was Rs.10,571 crore. “These benefits are a result of passenger time saved, fuel cost saved, reduction in capital and operating cost of vehicles, reduction in environmental damage, accidents prevented, and time saving and less maintenance cost on infrastructure,” the DMRC official said.

The survey, which was conducted earlier this year, indicates that the number of two-wheeler users who had the option of shifting to the metro and did so has more than doubled from 32.81 per cent in 2007 to 66.3 per cent in 2009.

The number of car owners who had the option of shifting to the metro and did so has increased from 52.35 per cent to 62.29 per cent in these two years. One-fourth of all metro commuters, about 24.8 per cent, are two-wheeler owners and almost one-fifth, 18.11 per cent are car owners.

“The survey focused on aspects like saving travel time, fuel cost saving, vehicle cost saving and reduction in emission of greenhouse gases among several more. The annual cost saved by metro passengers on account of reduced travel time will go up three times from Rs.310.13 crore in 2007 to Rs.947.07 crore in 2009. Similarly, the annual saving on account of reduced fuel consumption will be Rs. 180.89 crore in 2009, more than double from Rs.73.22 crore two years ago,” the DMRC official said.

The CRRI survey says that the number of vehicles that have been taken off the road with the introduction and expansion of the metro has shown a progressive reduction in daily vehicle demand. In 2009, the metro will take the daily share of 57,953 vehicles for all other modes of travel such as cars, buses, two-wheelers, auto-rickshaws, the survey claims.

“The annual vehicle (capital and operating) cost-saving will almost triple from Rs.93.21 crore in 2007 to Rs.276.24 crore this year. Reduction in emission of greenhouse gases will be about 131,395.34 tonnes. This is a five-time increase from 27,614.34 tonnes in 2007. The emission cost-saving will also increase almost three times from Rs.14.29 crore in 2007 to Rs.41.04 crore in 2009,” the official said citing the report.

The survey claims the metro has also substantially helped reduce the rate of accidents on the roads. “The metro will help avoid a total of 255 accidents, including 51 fatalities, in 2009. In 2007, the respective figures were 196 and 21. The accident cost-saving will be Rs.9.35 crore this year as against Rs.6.28 crore two years ago,” the official said.

Referring to the improvement in road journeys, the CRRI report says because of increase in average speed of road vehicles, the annual cost saved by road passengers on account of reduced travel time would be Rs.240.18 crore in 2009.

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