Can Delhi Metro Multiply Delhi’s Economy By 4 Times?

London was the world’s most important city in 19th and 20th century . It gave birth to capitalism and industrial revolution.

It still is. What made it so?

Other than cheap raw material and labour it was transport. Then railways and waterways carried industrial revolutionaries in, out and around the city. Now it’s London Underground or Tube.

Next was Paris, New York, Seattle, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

In recent times east asian cities have used the same template. Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Seoul are a few.

What about Delhi?

Delhi is catching up.

Delhi Metro is India’s largest metro network. 10 new cities are building metro.

It has charged up Delhi-NCR’s economy. For example, Delhi NCR attracts more than 50% of investment in startups and high tech.

Can it help Delhi-NCR become an economic might?

Delhi Metro: A snapshot

Delhi Metro was started in 1998.
- Coverage:219 kms
- Stations: 164
- Daily ridership: 2.7 million
- It crossed a billion ridership last year.
- It criss crosses Delhi NCR to Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurgaon and Faridabad.

Delhi Metro Vs…

Where does Delhi Metro stand against other cities?

Comparative analysis of metro systems across the world

Other big metro systems are NYC, Nanjing, Hongkong, Singapore, Madrid, Copenhagen etc.

Bigger/ Older Metro System Equals…

  • Higher economic activity.
  • High employment.
  • High GDP
    All the above cities have extensive metro networks.
    It is a good indicator of the economic strengths of the cities.
  • A report shows how high accessibility leads to high economic activity

Correlation Between Metro Systems & Economy

Delhi’s GDP is 96 billion $ approx.

  • 1/25th of Tokyo
  • 1/4th of Shanghai & Seoul
  • 1/5th of London.
  • 1/7th of Paris and Beijing

$500bn Economy Means 4 Times Current GDP

Delhi-NCR’s key industries are…

- Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI).
- Agri and processed food.
- Construction and real estate.
- IT and ITeS.
- Tourism and Logistics.
Key industries will have to grow four times.
Affordable accessibility is the key for the growth.

Scope Of Growth: Increase Ridership By 4 Times

Shanghai is similar to region of Delhi-NCR, but has four times bigger GDP.

Shanghai ‘s population is 24million. Delhi- NCR ( NCT + Gurgaon + Ghaziabad + Faridabad+ Noida) has population of 21 million.

However, Shanghai ( 6342 square kms) is twice as large as Delhi NCR ( 3200 square km).

Half of Shanghai’s population uses metro while only 15% of Delhi NCR’s population uses Delhi Metro.

Increasing Delhi Metro’s ridership by four times; from 3million daily to 12 million daily; we will increase employment and the GDP in future.

Also, Delhi Metro will have to cover twice as much area.
If that happens, Metro will be covering more cities in Haryana ( towards Sohna, Manesar, Neemrana, Sonipat) and UP ( Ghaziabad, Hapur, Moradabad, Meerut).


  • Though, we 2nd phase of Delhi Metro finished earlier than the deadline, third phase is facing delay. Phase 4 won’t start till Phase 3 gets over in 2020. After third phase is over, network coverage will be 310 kms; half of Shanghai.
  • Recent fare hike makes riding metro unaffordable. Ridership dropped by 17%.One round fare is 21% of minimum daily wage in Delhi, while in Shanghai it is 7%. Link
  • When Phase 4 completes, metro coverage will be over 450 kms.
  • We may reach Shanghai’s levels in the next 10 to 12 years.

Our Take: 10 Years Behind Shanghai

We are running against time. We are ten years behind Shanghai. It’s time we make up for the lost time. We have to work thrice as hard to come at par. 
Delhi NCR: Onwards and forward.