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Increased passenger capacity, less maintenance time; 'driverless' Metro makes its debut in Capital

Increased passenger capacity, less maintenance time; driverless Metro makes its debut in Capital
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New delhi: The country's first "driverless" metro, in effect, unattended train operation (UTO), which is slated to offer more passenger carrying capacity and reduce human intervention in the train network, was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the 37-km-long Magenta Line (Janakpuri West to Botanical Garden) on Monday.

According to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the new technology introduced in the country's largest urban mass rapid transit system will offer more "flexibility" and "reliability" in travel and will also allow trains to have more carrying capacity with a "headway as high as 90 seconds".

"The fully automated trains will reduce human intervention in operations and offer more reliability and safety for the commuters…as a result, the number of trains in service can be regulated based on demand dynamically without any dependence on availability of crew, "the DMRC said, adding that by account of the Communication based train control (signalling) system (CBTC), "they can be run with a headway as high as 90 seconds to offer more capacity".

The trains have been equipped with several new features like Wifi charging point and USB port facility and will also boast 37-inch LCD screens throughout the coaches which will stream real time videos along with graphics and animations for passenger convenience, the DMRC has said.

However, as per Metro officials, for now train operators or roving attendants will be present inside the train in order to "intervene during emergencies or faults in train operation". However, that will change after high-resolution cameras are installed in order to detect faults on the railway tracks technical augmentations are made. "Driverless train operation's higher level of diagnostic features will help move from conventional Time Based Maintenance to Condition Based Maintenance," said Executive Director (Communications), DMRC, Anuj Dayal, adding that this will help reduce the maintenance time of the coaches.

In addition to this, PM Modi launched the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), also dubbed as 'One Nation One Card', which will enable passengers from any part of the country, travelling on the Delhi Metro's Airport Express Line which links New Delhi Railway Station to IGI Airport, to use their NCMC compliant RuPay debit card to travel on train.

"The same card can also be used for shopping, banking transactions from 23 banks through the RuPay debit card issued by them," Dayal said.

The DMRC also said that the upcoming corridors of the Phase-IV metro network, whose present length stands at about 61.6 kms, will also be built with NCMC compliant Automatic Fare Collection System at the stations. "DMRC is planning to similarly upgrade its entire existing network by 2022 to facilitate the travel by this NCMC compliant RuPay Debit card. The existing Delhi Metro smart cards, tokens, QR Codes, etc., will also continue to remain in use," Dayal added.

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