India is witnessing a steep rise in its metro ridership as daily ridership across metro systems in the country has already crossed the 10 million mark, and is expected to exceed 12.5 million in a year or two, according to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

This comes after UK-based publication, The Economist, claimed that India's metro rail systems were failing to attract enough passengers in its year-ending 'Christmas Double' issue, dated December 23 last year.

A press release by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs highlighted the significant growth of metro rail in the country, emphasizing that daily ridership across all metro rail systems has surpassed 10 million, reflecting the evolving aspirations of a rapidly urbanizing young India.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs criticized the UK publication for factual inaccuracies and lacking necessary context, contending that none of India's metro rail systems have achieved even half of their projected ridership. The ministry rebutted the claims made by the UK publication, emphasizing that over three-fourths of India's current metro rail network has been conceptualized, constructed, and operationalized in less than a decade.

In 2023, India's metro rail ridership increased three times from 2019. This can be attributed to traffic congestion and a preference for faster transit options. For example, the Chennai metro rail service attracted three crore new passengers in 2023, increasing the daily footfall to 2.5 lakhs.

As of November 2023, India has 895 kilometres (556 miles) of operational metro lines and 16 systems. The Delhi Metro is the largest, with an annual ridership of over a billion. It's crucial to note that nearly all metro rail systems in the country currently generate operational profits.

In mature metro systems like Delhi Metro, with a daily ridership exceeding 7 million, the ministry showcased the positive impact of easing congestion in the city. The metro system, operational for over 20 years, has outperformed its projected ridership for 2023.

The ministry underscored the indispensable role of every mode of public transport, emphasizing the government's commitment to providing diverse, comfortable, reliable, and energy-efficient mobility solutions.

The recent launch of the PM e-Bus Sewa scheme aims to deploy 10,000 e-buses in cities with populations between 500,000 and 4 million. Larger cities are already covered under the government's FAME scheme, addressing the varied transportation needs of different urban landscapes. While the article suggests that many commuters prefer other modes of transport for short trips, the ministry contends that the metro systems, designed to serve urban areas for the next century, are witnessing a transition.

Metro rail is becoming the preferred mode of commuting, especially for women and the young population.The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs reaffirms India's commitment to providing sustainable and integrated mobility solutions, debunking The Economist's assertions by presenting a comprehensive view of the significant growth and positive impact of India's metro rail systems.