NEW DELHI, March 4 -- Since the first metro line, which connected Esplanade and Bhowanipore in Kolkata (then Calcutta) in 1984, to the latest Aqua Line inaugurated in January to connect Noida to Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, the metro has come a long way as a viable public transportation system.

Last Thursday, the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved two new metro projects, in Kanpur and Agra. This will bring up the total number of approved projects to eight.

With over 326 km that have been made operational in the last five years, and 373 km in the pipeline, the metro - part of what is known as Mass Rapid Transport System that aims to provide urban commuters an alternative to private transportation - is changing the face...