Transport in Delhi

Enlarge Delhi Metro Delhi

DTC New TATA Non AC buses

Delhi has significant reliance on its transport infrastructure. The city seeks to develop a highly efficient public transport system with the introduction of the Delhi Metro,[1] which is undergoing a rapid modernization and expansion as of 2006.[2] There are 16.6 million registered vehicles in the city as of 30 June 2014, which is the highest in the world among all cities, most of which do not follow any pollution emission norm (within municipal limits), while the Delhi metropolitan region (NCR Delhi) has 11.2 million vehicles. Delhi and NCR lose nearly 42 crore (420 million) man-hours every month while commuting between home and office through public transport, due to the traffic congestion.[3] Therefore, serious efforts, including a number of transport infrastructure projects, are under way to encourage usage of public transport in the city.[4]


Prior to independence in the 1940s, public transport in the city was in private hands, with people relying mainly on tongas and the bus service of the 'Gwalior Transport Company' and 'Northern India Transport Company'.[5] But with the growing city, it soon proved inadequate, thus Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus system was established in May 1948. The next big leap in city transport was the opening of Delhi Metro, a rapid transit system in 2002.


Public transport in the metropolis includes the Delhi Metro, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) bus system, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, e-rickshaws, Grameen Seva and taxis. With the introduction of Delhi Metro, a rail-based mass rapid transit system, rail-based transit systems have gained ground. Other means of transit include suburban railways, inter-state bus services and private taxis which can be rented for various purposes. However, buses continue to be the most popular means of transportation for intra-city travel, catering to about 60% of the total commuting requirements.[6]

Private vehicles account for 30%[citation needed] of the total demand for transport, while the rest of the demand is met largely by auto-rickshaws, taxis, rapid transit system and railways.

Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) serves Delhi for both domestic and international air connections, and is situated in the south-western corner of the city. In 2009-2010, IGI recorded a traffic of more than 25.01[7] million passengers, both Domestic and International.[8] Heavy air traffic has emphasised the need for a secondary airport, which is expected to be Taj International Airport near Greater Noida, alongside the Delhi-Agra highway.

The Delhi government is planning to have 413 km of metro, 292 km of BRT, and 50 km each of monorail and light rail by 2020.[9]

Currently, the only international rail service in Delhi is the Samjhauta Express to Lahore, while it is possible to change trains to board rail services to Bangladesh and Nepal which commence in other cities of India. For the future, a high-speed rail link is being considered that would link New Delhi with Kunming, China via Myanmar[10]

Intra-city Transport

Road transport

Roads in Delhi are maintained by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Delhi Cantonment Board (DCB), Public Works Department (PWD) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA). At 1749 km of road length per 100 km², Delhi has one of the highest road densities in India. Major roadways include the Ring Road and the Outer Ring Road, which had a traffic density of 110,000 vehicles per day in 2001. Total road length of Delhi was 28,508 km including 388 km of National Highways. Major road-based public transport facilities in Delhi are provided by DTC buses, auto-rickshaws, taxis and cycle-rickshaws.


Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) operates the world's largest fleet of CNG-powered buses. After Pune, Delhi was the second city in India to have an operational Bus rapid transit (BRT) system.[11]

Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transits System [1]

Delhi has one of India's largest bus transport systems. Buses are the most popular means of transport catering to about 60% of Delhi's total demand.[12] Buses are operated by the state-owned Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), which owns largest fleet of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)-fueled buses in the world, private Blueline bus operators and several chartered bus operators. It is mandatory for all private bus operators to acquire a permit from the State Transport Authority. The buses traverse various well-defined intra-city routes. Other than regular routes, buses also travel on Railway Special routes; Metro Feeder routes. Mudrika (Ring) and Bahri Mudrika (Outer Ring) routes along Ring and Outer-Ring road respectively are amongst the longest intra-city bus routes in the world. With the introduction of bus rapid transit (BRT) and the development of dedicated corridors for the service, bus service is set to improve. The DTC has started introducing air-conditioned buses and brand new low-floor buses (with floor height of 400 mm and even higher on one third area as against 230 mm available internationally.) on city streets to replace the conventional buses. A revamp plan is underway to improve bus-shelters in the city and to integrate GPS systems in DTC buses and bus stops so as to provide reliable information about bus arrivals. In 2007, after public uproar concerning the large number of accidents caused by privately owned Blueline buses, the Delhi government, under pressure from the Delhi High Court decided that all Blueline Buses shall be phased out and be eventually replaced by low floor buses of the state-owned DTC.[13] The Delhi Government has decided to expedite this process and will procure 6,600 low floor buses for the DTC by commonwealth games next year in mid 2020.[14] At present in 2019, the fleet size of buses in Delhi is as follows:


The auto-rickshaws (popularly known as Auto) are an important and popular means of public transportation in Delhi, as they are cheaper than taxis. Hiring an Auto in Delhi is very tricky, as very few auto-drivers agree to standard meter charges. The typical method is to haggle for an agreeable rate.


Radio taxi powered by CNG
Radio Taxi near airport

Though easily available, taxis are not an integral part of Delhi public transport. The Indian Tourism Ministry and various private owners operate most taxis. The Tourism Ministry grants private companies permits to operate taxis. Recently, Radio Taxis have started to gain ground in Delhi. Some companies provide an on-call radio taxi service, which is slightly more expensive than conventional Black and Yellow taxis.


Cycle-rickshaws are a popular mode of travel for short distance transits in the city. The pedal-powered rickshaws are easily available throughout the city and reckoned for being cheap and environment friendly. Often, tourists and citizens use them for joyrides, too. Of late, they have been phased out from the congested areas of Chandni Chowk because of their slow pace, which often leads to traffic snarls on the streets of Old Delhi. Still, they are the great source of public transport in Delhi.

Major Arteries

Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway also connects both cities with the airport.
Inner Ring Road

Inner Ring Road is one of the most important "state highways" in Delhi. It is a 51 km long circular road, which connects important areas in Delhi. Owing to more than 2 dozen grade-separators/flyovers, the road is almost signal-free. The road is generally 8-laned with a few bottlenecks at certain stretches, which are being removed. The road has already achieved its carrying capacity of 110000 vehicles per day and would require an addition of more lanes to fulfill needs of increasing traffic by 2011.

Outer Ring Road

Outer Ring Road is another major artery in Delhi. The road which was almost neglected till the early 2000s is now an important highway that links far-flung areas of Delhi. The road is 6-8 lane and has grade-separators and a large number are under construction as a part of project to make the artery signal free. The road along with the ring road forms a ring which intersects all the National Highways passing through Delhi.

Expressways and National Highways
The 32 lane toll gate at National Highway 8 was the largest in Asia and third largest in the world until it was dismantled in June 2015[15]

Delhi is connected by NH 1, NH 2, NH 8, NH 10 and NH 24. It also has three expressways (six- and eight-lane) that connect it with its suburbs. Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway connects Delhi with one of its financial hubs, Gurgaon, DND Flyway connects Delhi with its other financial hub, Noida and Delhi Faridabad Skyway which connects Faridabad, major suburb to Delhi. Four more expressways are also planned.

The DND Flyway

Noida–Greater Noida Expressway connects Noida with Greater Noida, which is an upcoming financial and commercial hub and is also to have a new Jewar International Airport. A 135.6-km long Western Peripheral Expressway, also known as the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway(KMP), which became operational on 19 November 2018, will relieve Delhi of the congestion of heavy night traffic and will act as a bypass for the night vehicles.

NH 24 or Ghaziabad Road is a four-lane national highway which connects Delhi to Lucknow via Ghaziabad. As the Commonwealth Village is located close by Yamuna bridge on this highway, underpasses and flyover being built will help facilitate traffic between the eastern areas of Delhi/ Western UP and the rest of the city.

Rail transport

Rail based transport in the city has started to gain popularity with the introduction of Delhi Metro. Ring-Railway, which runs parallel to the Ring-Road system is another rail-based intra-city transport facility in Delhi.


The Delhi Metro is being built in phases. Rapid increase of population coupled with large-scale immigration due to high economic growth has resulted in ever increasing demand for better transport, putting excessive pressure on the city's existent transport infrastructure. Like many other cities in the developing world, the city faces acute transport management problems leading to air pollution, congestion and resultant loss of productivity. In order to meet the transportation demand in Delhi, the State and Union government started the construction of a Mass Rapid Transit system, known as [2] Delhi Metro in 1998. The project started commercial operations on 24 December 2002. It has set performance and efficiency standards and is continuously expanding. As of January 2017, the network consists of five colour-coded regular lines and the faster Airport Express line, with a total length of 213 kilometres (132 mi)[16] serving 160 stations (including 6 on Airport Express line).[16] The system has a mix of underground, at-grade, and elevated stations using both broad-gauge and standard-gauge.[17] Phases III (112 km) and IV (108.5 km) will be completed by 2018 and 2025 respectively, with the network totaling 413.8 km, making it longer than the London Underground.

Description of three Delhi Metro lines that currently operate as of January, 2017:

Line First operational Last extension Stations Length
Terminals Rolling stock Track gauge
Power Min headway[18]
     Red Line 2002-12-24 2008-06-04 21 25.09 Dilshad Garden Rithala 31 trains 1676 25 kV OHE 3.10 min
     Yellow Line 2004-12-20 2015-11-10 37 49 Samaypur Badli HUDA City Centre 60 trains 1676 25 kV OHE 2.08 min
     Blue Line 2005-12-31 2010-10-30 44 49.93 Noida City Centre Dwarka Sector 21 70 trains 1676 25 kV OHE 2.30 min
2010-01-07 2011-07-14 7 8.74 Yamuna Bank Vaishali 1676 25 kV OHE
     Green Line 2010-04-03 14 15.14 Inderlok Mundka 16 trains 1435 25 kV OHE 4.16 min
2011-08-27 2 3.32 Ashok Park Main Kirti Nagar 1435 25 kV OHE
     Violet Line 2010-10-03 2015-09-06 28 40.35 Kashmere Gate Escorts Mujesar 31 trains 1435 25 kV OHE 3.00 min
     Airport Express (Orange Line) 2011-02-23 6 22.70 New Delhi Dwarka Sector 21 8 trains 1435 25 kV OHE 10 min[19]
TOTAL 160[16] 277

Ring Railway

Patel Nagar
Kirti Nagar
Delhi Sarai Rohilla
Naraina Vihar
Delhi Kishanganj
Sadar Bazar
Brar Square
New Delhi
Sardar Patel Marg
Shivaji Bridge
Tilak Bridge
Pragati Maidan
Sarojini Nagar
Hazrat Nizamuddin
Lodhi Colony
Lajpat Nagar
Sewa Nagar
Delhi Suburban Railway trains

Ring railway is a circular rail network in Delhi, which runs parallel to the Ring Road and was conceived during the Asian Games of 1982.[20] The major reasons for failure of this system are a lack of proper connectivity and less population density in the areas it reaches. The network is now utilized as a freight corridor and limited passenger train services are available during peak hours.

Inter-state transport

Railway connectivity

Delhi is connected to whole of the nation through Indian Railways vast network. New Delhi Railway Station which is one of the most busiest stations in Indian Railway system serves as headquarters of Northern Railways. A large load of inter-state transport is borne by railways. 5 major Railway Stations in the city include New Delhi Railway Station, Old Delhi Railway Station, Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station, Sarai Rohilla and Anand Vihar Railway Terminal. A large number of local passenger trains connect Delhi to its sub-urban areas and thus provide convenient travel for daily commuters. Railways also share a large amount of freight traffic in Delhi.



The city is believed to have the highest road density in the country and is well connected to rest of the nation through five major national highways, namely NH 1, NH 2, NH 8, NH 10 and NH 24. The highways around city are being upgraded into expressways with ultra-modern facilities.

Bus services

Regular bus services are available from inter-state bus terminals in the city. The services are extended to all the northern states and the neighbouring areas of Delhi. Services are provided by state transport corporations and several private operators. The 3 inter-state terminals in city are:


Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) serves Delhi for both domestic and international connections, and is situated in the southwestern corner of the city, alongside Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway. In the year 2015-16, IGI recorded a traffic of over 48 million passengers.[21] Being the busiest airport in the South Asian region, IGI airport has three terminals - Terminal 1 & Terminal 2 for domestic operations only and Terminal 3 - with mixed use i.e. primary International and the rest of the domestic operations - in addition of T1 & T2[22]

The airport was and still witnessing massive expansion and modernisation by a consortium led by GMR Infra. The new Terminal T3 was inaugurated in 2010 in line of the historic Commonwealth Games being held and Delhi is today India's only city to have an airport of this size. Terminals 4, 5 and 6 will be built in a phased manner. By 2024, airport will have four runways and will handle more than 100 million passengers per year.[23]

Hindon Domestic Airport in Ghaziabad was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the second airport for the Delhi-NCR Region on the 8 March 2019.[24]

Apart from the expanded IGI airport, Delhi might also receive a second international airport by 2024. The airport, being named as Taj International Aviation Hub, is proposed to be located in Jewar in Greater Noida. It would be around 75 km from IGI airport.

East-west connectivity bridges

Yamuna bridges in NCR

Signature Bridge on Yamuna river, is the tallest structure in Delhi

Delhi has 16 Bridges across Yamuna, 13 existing and 3 planned (c. 2008):[25]

Other bridges in NCR

Future projects

There are many transport infrastructure projects underway in Delhi. Most have their deadlines set in late 2009 and early 2010, just before the 2010 Commonwealth Games. They are listed below -




Delhi Traffic Police transport helpline

Owing to a large number of complaints from consumers, the Delhi Government in association with Delhi Traffic Police runs a manned transport helpline which can be reached at 011-23010101 while dialing from within the city. Citizens can make traffic related complaints and suggestions. One can also report traffic violations observed and misbehavior/refusal/overcharging by autorickshaws, buses and taxis.[34]

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Delhi Metro among world's top mass transit systems". Archived from the original on 2 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Expansion to Gurgaon, Noida & Faridabad planned". International Railway Journal. 1 February 2006.
  3. ^ Prithwi (9 January 2008). "Traffic snarl snaps 42 Cr man-hour from Delhi, NCR workers". iGovernment. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Capital story: Managing a New Delhi". Hindustan Times. 1 September 2011. Archived from the original on 8 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Delhi Transport" (PDF). Delhi Govt. Retrieved 14 May 2006.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Delhi – Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI Airport) information". Essential Travel Ltd., UK. Archived from the original on 19 July 2006. Retrieved 29 April 2006.
  9. ^ Can't miss the bus
  10. ^ "Delhi's CNG success inspiring many countries: Naik". Outlook. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  11. ^ "Chapter 12: Transport" (PDF). Economic Survey of Delhi, 2005–2006. Planning Department, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi. pp. 130–146. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2007. Retrieved 21 December 2006.
  12. ^ "Delhi to phase out Blueline buses".
  13. ^ "Blueline buses to fade out soon". The Times Of India. 10 December 2009.
  14. ^ Ch, Vimal; Jun 19, er Joshi | TNN |; 2015; Ist, 03:11. "Gone! Toll plaza fully dismantled | Gurgaon News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 27 March 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ a b c "Delhi Metro About Us Introduction". DMRC. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  16. ^ Sadana, Rashmi. "Metrocity Journal: Delhi's Changing Landscape". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  17. ^ Haidar, Faizan. "Delhi Metro: Steep rise in ridership beats network expansion". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  18. ^ "DMRC : Airport Express Line". Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Changing Delhi map makes Ring Railway redundant". Indian Express. 22 February 2011.
  20. ^ "TRAFFIC STATISTICS – DOMESTIC & INTERNATIONAL PASSENGERS" (PDF). Airports Authority of India. p. 3. Archived from the original (jsp) on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Delhi – Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL)". 16 August 2009. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  22. ^ Thursday, 10 Jan 2008 at 0000 hrs IST (10 January 2008). "2nd airport won't hit IGI, says govt". Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  23. ^ PTI (8 March 2019). "PM Narendra Modi inaugurates civil enclave at Hindon airport". The Economic Times. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  24. ^ Planning, Design, and Construction of Bridge Over River Yamuna Near Geeta Colony, Delhi
  25. ^ "Trams to ply on streets of Delhi again". The Economic Times. 4 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Delhi to bring back a slice of history — trams". The Indian Express. 5 March 2014.
  27. ^ "Two bridges across Yamuna to link Noida and Haryana". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  28. ^ "Nod for road joining Greater Noida, Faridabad". Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  29. ^
  30. ^ "This page is closed for public access". Archived from the original on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Delhi: India's first heliport inaugurated in Rohini". The Indian Express. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  33. ^ "Delhi Traffic Police transport helpline number". Archived from the original on 23 February 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2011.