After eight years of planning, the city of Bangalore in southern India, the nation’s technological hub, finally witnessed the launch of its own metro rail service.
The 4.1-mile elevated track – called The Namma (Our) Metro -- has six stations and connects MG Road in the center of Bangalore with Baiyappanahalli Terminal in the east, according to BBC.
India's Minister for Urban Development Kamal Nath appeared at the launching ceremony.
Karnataka state’s Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda said the railway was a Diwali gift to the people of Bangalore, referring to the “festival of lights” holiday which India will observe next week.
Bangalore thus becomes the first city in the south of India to have a mass rail transit system.
The metro is expected to ease congestion in the city of 8.5-million people and more than 4 million vehicles.
An Apple engineer visiting his hometown told BBC: [The new rail system] should do a lot of good for Bangalore.
Another businessman said: There is excitement all around but this should have happened a decade ago.”
The entire network is expected to stretch out to 26 miles and is expected to be finished by 2014.
Railway officials said the metro line will have the capacity to transport 30,000 passengers daily with fares ranging between 10 rupees (20 cents) and 15 rupees (30 cents).
As the home of more than 1500 multinational software firms, akin to Silicon Valley in California, Bangalore’s poor infrastructure was ruining the city’s image as a global economic center. Many top business executives were complaining that traffic jams and poor road conditions compromised the pristine reputation of the city’s technological prowess.