Like in Heathrow, ‘Pods’ to soon go around Amritsar
July 13, 2013
Amritsar, the holy city of Golden Temple, could be the first Indian city to get a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system, which is based on 4-6 seat battery powered driverless vehicle that uses rubber wheels running on an elevated guideway.
The PRT is in fact a personal taxi, which is demand-responsive to any user. It transports users anywhere within the track network directly and without any stops. Stations are off-line allowing the PRT ‘pods’ to by- pass all stations en-route to the destination. At present, the PRT is running only at the London Heathrow Terminal, and now being planned in Amritsar and later in Gurgaon.
The project cost in Amritsar could be nearly Rs 250 crore and is to be taken up on a public-private partnership.
It is likely to come up in two to three years, according to Mr Sanjaya Varma, Advisor – Urban Transport Planning, Fairwood Group.
The Fairwood Group has an exclusive understanding with the UK-based ULTra, which designed and developed the PRT system, to implement it in India.
It has given its ‘unsolicited proposal’ to the Amrtisar project, which has now reached the request for proposal stage, he said. The ULTra PRT system facilitates the “last mile connectivity” and integrates with the existing transport system. It provides feeder services to any mass transport system. The Amritsar project encompasses PRT system with railway station and bus stand to the Golden Temple with 3.30 km and seven stations. It will cost Rs 60 crore for one km.
This includes 30 vehicles with two stations. While the distance between two PRT stations is 500 metre apart, the distance between two metro stations is nearly 1 km. With its slender columns; 2.1m-wide guideway; 5 m turning radius and 10-degree grade-climbing capability, the PRT can thread its way through the most challenging urban environments, he said. The private operator will construct, procure, operate and maintain the PRT system. The period of concession will be 35 years extendable by another 35 years.
Mr Sanajaya said by implementing PRT, the land area could be reduced by nearly 30 per cent. There could also be a shift towards PRT from other transportation. Every day in Amritsar nearly one lakh pilgrims and tourists visit the Golden Temple, and they mostly depend on rickshaws or auto rickshaws.
The PRT is likely to provide a good alternative in future, he said. ULTra-Fairwood has two build-operate-transfer projects – in Amrtisar and Gurgaon – under development in India. The Amrisar project consists of 8 km of guideway; seven stations and 300 vehicles. It is a high-capacity system, which is projected to carry approximately 35 million passengers a year.
The Gurgaon PRT system will be bigger than that of Amrtisar.
Both of the projects will operate under Government concessions but will be privately financed, he said.