Pod car dreams: The new-age commuting plan for Thane city

18 November, 2018

Thane: Circa 2025. Ghodbunder resident Prasad Mhatre alights at Thane station, walks up the stairs to the waiting driverless pod car that ferries him and four other like him on to the platform of the metro station at theTeen Haath Naka just in time for the Kasarvadavli-bound metro.

This is what the municipal administration in Thane plans to achieve, as part of its ambitious new age public transport connectivity plan, suggests the civic proposal put up for consideration of the 130-member strong general body of the Thane Municipal Corporation.

The proposal is to introduce a fleet of such driverless pod cars which will run on an elevated track connecting to the metro stations.

With an estimated to cost of over Rs 2,500 crore, the project is believed to be a one-of-a-kind across the nation. The municipal administration, which is responsible for managing and running the much-maligned TMT undertaking, claims to be equipped to deal with the challenges of introducing the pod cars system and has sought the approval of the general body of the house for conducting a technical feasibility study.

The project will be executed in multiple phases and the first phase will entail connecting the internal city and metro IV stations within Thane.

“Its a trbapoy of tomorrow and we are calling it a Personal Rapid Transit System (PRTS). The pod cars will operate on dedicated fibre tracks laid across the designated routes. The pod cars resemble a mobile glass capsule and will link far off residential localities of the city with metro stations and our high capacity mass rapid transport route. These cars will have a capacity of nearly four to six people and be centrally controlled,” said a senior official from the corporation.

The proposal for introducing this initiative on city roads was raised few months back in a joint meeting between municipal corporation and MMRDA officials as a solution to reduce the traffic congestions. Civic officials said the project could be an alternative to the modest auto rickshaws and even the fleet- cabs and cater to that section that wouldn’t prefer to travel in crowded public transport utilities. The fare, routes and other viability and operational aspects of the project could be discussed at a later meeting, informed officials.

Activists have welcomed the move but suggested the administration put efforst on improving the municipal Transport first instead of bringing in such initiatives. “Strengthening the TMT routes is the need of the hour. The TMT is already working on bringing in AC buses so what is the need for thrusting this initiative in Thane? There are already several autos and taxis operating in the city so why the need for more such concepts. The administration should focus on improving the city road lengths and public transport system which can easily wipe off the snarls,” said an activist.

A regular traveler Mayur Patel commented, “It’s an ambitious move by the Thane Municipal Authorities to introduce a swanky transport system like this. If implemented then it will really be of great help to the residents of lake city. However as of now the project looks very fancy and unrealistic. Instead the authorities should focus on making the existing transport system better.”

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com