India's 1st pod taxi a reality soon

The much-awaited India's first pod taxi project has moved a step closer to reality after a high-level panel recommended inviting fresh bids for the same.

The projected Rs 4,000 crore pod taxi scheme also known as Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), is a dream project of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and the NHAI has been mandated to execute it on Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a public-private partnershipasis.

"The committee recommends issuance of a fresh EOI (expression of interest) incorporating (automated people movers) APM standards and specifications, along with other general safety parameters with Niti Aayog recommendations," the five-member committee set up for technical and safety standards of PRT, headed by transport expert S K Dhramadhikari, said.

"We will be issuing bids very soon for the pod taxi project now, with all hurdles cleared. The safety and security concerns will be taken care of as per the recommendation of the committee. This will be a major step towards easing congestion on busy Dhaula Kuan-Manesar stretch and revolutionising transportation," Gadkari said.

The committee in its report, also recommended framing of request for quotation (RFQ) based on discussions with interested players and stressed the need for evaluation, based on performance in the test sections.

The automated people mover (APM) standards in the US as recommended by the committee for the maiden PRT in India have been prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and these constitute the minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT.

"The APM standards include minimum requirements for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the various sub-systems of an APM system and are in general relevant for a PRT," the committee said.

These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, platform sloping, evacuation of misalighted vehicles, surveillance/CCTV, audio communication, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems, it added.

If all goes according to plan, the first phase will be linking the 70-km stretch from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi to Manesar in Haryana to decongest NCR, Gadkari said.

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