1) Overview of the subway system
As three Indian cities are within the top 15 largest populated cities in the world, it is needed for these megalopolis’ to have an efficient public transportation system. The transportation system of a city, and more globally, of a country, is very important for the social cohesion; it also is a mark of social increasefor a country. These three cities are Mumbai, which is in the sixth position of the most populated cities with 18 196 000 citizens in 2005, Delhi is in the ninth position, with 17 582 000 citizens in 2005 and Kolkata is in the fifteenth position with 14 277 000 citizens in 2005. The following map indicates the cities in India that have more than 1 million inhabitants.
It is essential for thenewly industrialized countries to have a transportation system. Moreover, the Indian cases are really significant on how the transportation system is important because these cities are wide and it would be very long for a worker to get from one end of the city to another by foot or by bike.
The metro system in India is actually very recent; the politics took a lot of time to launch these uneasy,long and expensive projects. The idea of building an efficient mass transportation infrastructure first came in the late 70’s when the prevision of demographic growth became a problem in terms of pollution. The specialists understood that the Indian population, which will be the most important in the years to come, needed a cheap, green and efficient way to transport citizens.
The projects tookbetween 15 and 30 years to be launched, according to the city.
Subway characteristics of Kolkatta, Delhi and Mumbai
| Date of launch | N° of lines | N° of stations | Frequentation |
Kolkatta | 1984 | 3 | 23 | -------------------- |
Delhi | 2002 | 3 | 83 | 1 550 000/day |
Mumbai | 2006 | 2 | 13 | 510 000/day |
Advantages of the subway in India
There are of course many positiveaspects of having a subway in a big city; first, it permits many people to be able to go to their work a lot faster or even to be able to go to their work at all. Let’s take the example of Delhi, the city has more or less 17 millions inhabitants, the surface of Delhi’s territory is about 15 000 square kilometers, which is 15 times the surface of Paris, so even though the use of bikes is reallydeveloped, some distances are almost impossible to make. Second of all, the subway has made the circulation much more fluid, especially in the morning or after work, it would take for example 2 hours to get from West Delhi to East Delhi at 9 in the morning but it would only take 55 minutes to go from one end of the East/West subway line to the other (source: Google maps).
This problem is due to thefact that the cities are overpopulated but also that the roads are often old or in some cases that there aren’t any roads at all, the restructuration of all the roads in India seems impossible so far because it would be a very expensive and long project. Third of all, there is a real positive aspect on pollution; with 10 million inhabitants in the city, the traffic generates tons of CO2 a day,involving acid rains. Following the Non Governmental Organization Blacksmith Institute, 2 of the 10th most polluted sites in the world are located in India, being a real problem for local environment. India being one of the most polluted countries on earth, it is preferred to choose a greener way to travel. Even though it would be incorrect to assign the whole pollution problem to cars, it certainlyrepresents a big part of it. Even though there are 250 million cars in the United States and only 17 million in India, the fact that these cars are most often low cost cars with an old or bad quality engine makes them much more polluting than American cars.
We can note that even though there are not this many Indian cars, this number has doubled every 7 years in the past 30 years. Moreover,...