The Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has given green light to a proposal to connect the upcoming Noida International Airport in Jewar with adjacent commercial and entertainment centres via pod taxis.
With the approval in place, tenders can now be awarded for the construction of India’s first personal rapid transit (PRT) project, according to a report in ET Infra.
The Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), which is the project implementing authority, has planned to construct a 14.6-km-long pod taxi corridor at a cost of Rs 640 crore.
PRT system, also known as pod cars or pod taxis, is a public transport system which comprises small automated vehicles operating on a network of specially built guideways. The driverless pods usually work for non-stop, point-to-point travel transporting four to six people at a time.
Numerous PRT systems were proposed in India, but none of them could be implemented.
As a pilot project, the pod taxi system was to be developed on the 12.3 km stretch from Gurugram border to Sohna road, at a cost of around Rs 800 crore. The project has however, remained in abeyance.
In June 2022, Telangana government proposed to set up a PRT system from state assembly to Paradise Metro station in Hyderabad.
Further, in February 2023, the National Highways Logistics Management Limited (NHLML) invited proposals from consultants for carrying out feasibility study for development of PRT system to be implemented in GIFT City in Gujarat.
The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has already constituted a special committee to formulate and recommend standards and specifications for PRT system in the country.
Yamuna Expressway PRT Corridor
Earlier in August last year, the YEIDA board approved the Rs 640 crore detailed project report for the PRT.
Following that, in January, it was placed before the public-private partnership (PPP) bid-evaluation committee of the state government. The committee requested YEIDA to conduct a thorough analysis of pod taxi projects that are currently functioning in various countries and present a comprehensive report.
In response to this request, YEIDA collaborated with the Indian Port Rail and Ropeway Corporation Limited (IPRRCL). The IPRRCL then reached out to agencies in London (Heathrow airport), Abu Dhabi (Masdar City), and South Korea (Suncheon) that operate similar transportation systems.
The comprehensive report based on global standards was approved by the state government during a meeting with the bid evaluation committee in Lucknow on 7 June.
According to the DPR, the Jewar to Sector-21 Film City PRT corridor will have 12 stations. The first phase envisages 101 pods running on a guideway, and will complete the end-to-end journey in 20 minutes.
Further, according to YEIDA CEO Arun Vir Singh, approximately five or six companies across the globe have the expertise to develop pod taxi systems, and all have demonstrated an interest in participating in the bid. Land for the corridor has been procured.
The pod taxi project is planned for completion by 2024, coinciding with the launch of the first phase of the Noida airport.
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