Delhi has a well-developed public transportation system which is continuously being upgraded and expanded so that commuting is easier, cheaper and faster. The development of the Delhi Metro which takes a place of pride in the transportation systems of Delhi and which is still undergoing expansion to cover all parts of Delhi is a perfect example of the efforts that are being taken to improve movement of the people in the city. This system was also meant to control pollution levels in the city which have increased due to the ever increasing vehicular traffic.
In March 2015, the number of registered private vehicles in Delhi was found to be more than 8.4 million and the number of registered commercial vehicles was more than 3.5 million. These figures do not include more than 13 million vehicles that are registered in the National Capital Region which enter Delhi daily or very frequently or more than half a million vehicles that pass through Delhi.
It is not surprising therefor that pollution levels in Delhi have reached alarming proportions as strict pollution emission norms are not implemented. Due to traffic congestion almost 500 million man-hours are wasted every month and it is becoming more and more difficult for the common man to commute from home to his place of work.
Developing efficient, inexpensive and non-polluting public transport in Delhi is a challenge and several such projects are being planned in the direction. It will be possible to encourage people to use public transport and reduce the use of private vehicles only after such projects are implemented.
Inter State Transport
Delhi is very well connected to the whole country by means of transportation by Rail, Road and Air.
Railways in Delhi
The Indian Railways connect Delhi to the rest of the country through an enormous network (supposed to be the largest in the world) that crisscrosses the nation. The Northern Railways which is part of the Indian Railways has its headquarters in Delhi and New Delhi Railway Station is the major hub through which more than 350 trains pass each day. There are 16 platforms that take care of passenger traffic from all the states of India and local trains from neighboring states in the NCR which makes commuting for work from NCR convenient and cheap. These trains are called EMU or electric-multiple unit locomotive as they are propelled by electricity and require no engines to propel them. Hundreds of freight trains bring raw materials and goods from all over India.
Since there is a saturation of rail traffic through New Delhi Station which also cause traffic jams, three other railway stations have been developed as junctions. Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station caters to trains coming from the south and Anand Vihar Station for trains from the East and Sarai Rohilla Station for trains from the west.
Old Delhi Railways Station has been serving Delhi from even before New Delhi Station was built and is the hub for trains from the north.
Air Transport in Delhi
More people are travelling by air in India than ever before. There is also a larger inflow of tourists from all over the world.
The newly refurbished and expanded Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) now handles this growing number of air passengers to and from Delhi for both domestic and international flights. The old Palam Airport is now Terminal 1 of IGIA and handles domestic flights of low cost airlines. It is about 5 kms from Terminal 3 which is the terminal used for international travel and some domestic travel as well. The airport is located in the south west corner of Delhi near NH8. It is considered to be one of the busiest airport in the world and the busiest in South Asia.
Further expansion and modernization is planned and is underway both in the technical areas as well as the passenger areas. Many large infrastructure development companies including the GMR group are implementing these plans. Addition of Terminals 4, 5 and 6 by 2014 will make it possible to handle more than 100 million passengers per year, making it the busiest airport in the world.
Delhi also needs another airport and plans are afoot to build one possibly in Greater Noida which is about 75 kms away from the present airport. That will preempt air traffic congestion in the future.
Roads and Bus Services in Delhi
Roads and road transport are well developed in Delhi with 5 major National Highways passing through or originating from the city. The five major national highways are; NH 1, NH 2, NH 8, NH 10 and NH 24. There are also expressways to neighboring towns and cities that make travel easy and faster. The Gurgaon Delhi Expressway, the DND to Noida, the Greater Noida Expressway and Yamuna Expressway to Agra are examples of these. All the highways and expressways are well maintained and have modern facilities.
There are Interstate Bus services to all neighboring northern states and some states in the west, center and east from three major inter-state bus terminals in the city. The Delhi Transport Corporation also plies buses to neighboring states. There are also some private bus operators that operate some routes that are in demand. The three major inter-state bus terminals in Delhi are the Kashmiri gate ISBT, Anand Vihar ISBT and the Sarai Kale Khan ISBT.
- Kashmiri Gate ISBT in Northern Delhi
- Anand Vihar ISBT in Trans-Yamuna area
- Sarai Kale Khan ISBT in South Delhi
Metro in Delhi
As Delhi is growing from all sides and the population is also increasing rapidly, a transport system that could take care of the transportation woes of the common citizen was envisaged and is being implemented in phases in Delhi. The Delhi Metro is the pride of Delhi with 6 lines that cover and bring closer almost all of Delhi by means of a world class Metro Train Service ferrying over 27 lakh passengers every day.
Since its inauguration in 2002, the Delhi Metro has now covered over 190 kms and is still growing. With a combination of elevated, at ground (road level) and underground lines and world class carriages, stations and affordable, efficient service the troubles of commuting have lessened considerably.
Local Transport in Delhi
Local transport in Delhi consists of buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, battery powered e-rickshaws for small distances and of course the private vehicles such as cars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles.
Cars, two wheelers both motorized and manual form about one-third of the local transportation of Delhi. There are well kept wide main and arterial roads that are always busy with some form of traffic or other.
The bus service is operated by DTC or the Delhi Transport Corporation. There are smaller private operators of buses that ferry office goers and school children. Many schools own their own buses that are available for their own students. It used to be an unpleasant experience to travel in the over- crowded and over speeding buses of Delhi only a few years ago. It is not as bad now with new buses, air-conditioned buses and more buses. Bus travel in Delhi has become easier and it was always the cheapest means of transport for the common man.
Auto rickshaws are run on CNG to curb pollution to an extent and are an essential part of public transportation in Delhi. They are cheaper and more maneuverable and hence are preferred when there is a need to reach destination faster on the heavily congested roads of Delhi. Taxis are now becoming more common as many private operators have entered the fray. There are radio taxis that can be called from your mobile and the old yellow and black taxis are available on taxi stands that are found in all neighborhoods.
Cycle rickshaws have always been part of the road scene and are used for short distances but are banned in Lutyens Delhi. There are plans to phase them out and replace them with e-rickshaws.
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