Partnerships with private players key to introduce modern facilities for commuters: Kumar Keshav, MD, UPMRC

In an interaction with Express Computer, Kumar Keshav, MD, UP Metro Rail Corporation underlines the importance of partnerships with the private players to strengthen tech infrastructure, enhance safety and security and ensure common mobility solutions. He says that the UPMRC is leaving no stones unturned to use cutting edge technologies to have a modern transport system in major cities of Uttar Pradesh. Excerpts:

Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) is laying a thrust on having strong partnerships with the private technology players to introduce modern facilities for the metro users in the country’s most populous state.

During an interaction with Express Computer, Kumar Keshav, Managing Director, UPMRC says that UP Metro is creating robust infrastructure facilities with the help of private technology players, which includes fully automated trains with communications-based train control (CBTC), CCTV cameras at metro stations and inside trains with remote monitoring from operation control, building information modelling (BIM Technology) in design and construction of metro infra-structures, digital technology based GoSmart Card and automatic fare collection system.

The managing director says that the entire ticketing system of Lucknow Metro is with a private player which facilitates online payments. “The key thrust areas of UP Metro would be common mobility platforms, apps, payment gateways, mobility cards to use public transport. It could be done by having partnerships with the private players,” he says.

Keshav points out that all these projects have been planned with high end technologies in all the spheres, particularly trains which are ultra modern and have most advanced communication system. “Safety and security in and around metros matter a lot for which a wide CCTV network has been laid around the existing metro stations and inside the trains,” he adds. 

He informs that Kanpur Metro’s priority section of nine kilometres is likely to be commissioned by early 2022 and the work is going on at full pace.

He adds that the 23 km long Lucknow metro is fully operational and the UPMRC’s next goal is to commission the Agra and Kanpur metro projects within the time frame. 

First and last mile connectivity:   
Keshav says that the UPMRC project has definitely adopted smart mobility towards urban transportation and is gradually transforming the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) to make travel smooth, convenient and faster for the people. Efforts with the help of the Government of Uttar Pradesh are in progress to take a holistic approach by integrating various modes of urban transportation so that first and last mile connectivity can be significantly improved in the long run.

He states that the city buses and auto service routes have been rationalised for these to work as feeder to metro stations. Lucknow Metro has various tie-ups with mobility partners like Rapido, Wow taxi and Uber to enhance smart mobility till the doorstep of people.

According to him, effective policies towards multi-modal integration can further simplify and boost smart mobility in the state.


What makes UP Metro projects different from the existing ones in India?

Keshav says all the metro stations and depots are Platinum Certified Green Buildings by Indian Green Building Council in Uttar Pradesh.

He also talks about contactless ticketing via GoSmart Card, which enables people to buy tickets through digital modes. The UPMRC has collaboration arrangements with local civil and municipal agencies for payment of utility bills by the commuters at the metro stations through smart cards.

Some of the modern features include regenerative braking in metro trains and lifts, a combination of air cooled and water cooled chillers for air conditioning of stations which have been adopted by Lucknow Metro for the first time in the country.

Extensive development of green spaces along Metro Corridor and at stations and beautiful artwork signifying the cultural importance of Lucknow is another distinctive feature, he informs. 


Mobility as a service (MaaS):
He asserts that mobility as a Service (MaaS) using a single digital channel has to be the aim in view of the current situations in big cities. “People will ultimately have to shift away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility provided as a service,” he says.

He believes that combining transportation services from public and private transportation providers through a common gateway to manage the trip and payment from a single account will immensely help to provide end to end convenient mobility solutions to travellers. He says Lucknow Metro’s GoSmart card is aimed to work as ‘one city one card’ facility and the UPMRC is progressing in this direction. 

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