To encourage passengers at the Delhi airport to use metro, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has installed token vending machines outside the domestic and international terminals. The machines have been made colourful and kept next to the taxi counters so that passengers can notice them.
Though the Delhi metro’s airport line has registered significant growth in ridership, metro officials still feel that air travellers are unable to make its optimum use as most are not aware of the facility. The token machines will now also guide passengers about planing their journey to other parts of the city.
“To reach the metro station, passengers have to cross the road after coming out of Terminal 3. Only those who know about the metro were able to use it as Delhi metro did not have any visibility at the terminal. Now, we have installed two machines each at Terminal 1 and 3. Passengers can take token from these machines, recharge card and know about the metro network from these machines,” a DMRC official said.
Terminal 3 is directly connected with the Delhi metro and DMRC provides feeder bus facility from Aerocity metro station to Terminal 1. DMRC hopes, that with this initiative the ridership of the airport line will improve.
The airport line had faced numerous teething problems till DMRC took over in June 2013. In October 2016, the line recorded 54,000 passengers in a day. Many VIPs, including Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, also use this metro on a regular basis. To attract passengers, the DMRC revised fares twice and brought in several changes to ensure more people use it. The maximum fare was also reduced to ₹60 from ₹180.
“Steps such as extension of timings to suit the passengers of Shatabdi Express, improvement of frequency from 15 minutes to 10 minutes 30 seconds, improvement of speed from 70 kmph to 80 kmph, seamless interchange between the Indian Railways station at New Delhi and Metro stations resulted in increase in ridership to 14,200 a day from 9,000 when we took over,” the official added.
Following this, metro smart cards were made valid for travel on the airport line from May 1, 2015 which pushed ridership to 26,580 on May 11, 2015. Second fare reduction was introduced on September 18, 2015 and on November 5, the ridership further rose to 35,405.
On August 12, the ridership reached to 50,077. According to DMRC, the monthly average ridership on this section has increased from 17,535 in April, 2015 to 43,000 in August, 2016 registering an increase of more than double. Passengers travelling with Air India and Jet Airways can also check-in from New Delhi and Shivaji Stadium metro station.
THE AIRPORT LINE
- Service was suspended from July 7, 2012 to January 22, 2013 due to technical problems
- After reopening, the speed was cut to only 50 km/hr, extending journey time from the airport to New Delhi Station to over 40 minutes
- On June 27, 2013 the private concessionaire intimated DMRC that they would be unable to operate the line beyond June 30, 2013
- Following this, the DMRC took over operations of Airport Express line from July 1, 2013 with an operations and maintenance team of 100 officials
- The DMRC reinstated 80 km/hr speed on the line in mid 2014.