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A decade of Delhi Metro

Delhi Metro, which opened to the public on 25 December 2002, completes 10 years this month and has made the city smaller for its residents. HT tracks the journey so far.

delhi Updated: Dec 09, 2012 02:18 IST

Delhi Metro, which opened to the public on 25 December 2002, completes 10 years this month and has made the city smaller for its residents. We track the journey so far

‘I dressed safely for my trip’
Rohini Gugnani, 29

Rohini says she’s used to the comfort of her BMW but took a one-off Metro trip just for the experience of it

I had been hearing a lot about Delhi Metro over the years but had never taken the journey myself. About a year ago I planned a trip to see what it was like. Since public transport in India doesn’t have a great reputation, I was sceptical. Normally I dress in skirts during a work day and though I’ve seen everything from minis to Jimmy Choos in Metros abroad, I decided to be careful here. I dressed safely in a pair of jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. I stay in Chanakya Puri and the closest station is Race Course but as advised by friends I took the train from Rajiv Chowk, a very bustling station, to get the real feel of the journey. I saw people from different stratas travelling together. All through the journey I was http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/09_12_pg12a.jpgcautious of pick pocketing or any other such unpleasant incident.

‘Better than London tube’
Seema Jajodia, 44
Seema says she found Delhi Metro to be better than European ones

I have travelled extensively in tubes in London and the Metro in NY. I find Delhi Metro superior as it has got the latest technology and the platforms are maintained. We may not have Metro culture like in London but with time that may happen. Last winter I organised a Metro weekend trip with friends to Chandni Chowk for chaat eating. I am planning another such trip soon.

‘Metro helps me earn better’
Surender Kumar, 30
Electrical supervisor
Surender, who travels from Rithala to Gurgaon for work, says without Metro he couldn’t have taken a job so far

Every day I spend four hours travelling in Delhi Metro. With Metro connectivity, I can think about working in Gurgaon though I stay in Rithala, the farthest end of Delhi. Every morning I take the train at 7.00 and change three trains to reach Gurgaon from where I take a tempo ride to reach Ullawas Gaon. I am happy travelling in Metro as it is cheaper and more convenient than a DTC bus. On Sundays, I take my family to our village in Jilana near Hasanpur. I take a Metro from Rithala to Shahadra from where we take a local train to Muzzaffarpur followed by a bus ride. If Metro wasn’t there this journey would have taken one day instead of three hours.Also during winter nights a Metro is comfortable than a bus or a tempo ride.

‘Rowdy crowds spoil the ride’
Subbanshu Jaiin, 23
A Metro traveller for 10 years, Jaiin says even after so many years people still need to learn travelling etiquette

I have been a traveller on Delhi Metro ever since it launched its first route on red line. I started travelling in a Metro for my school and coaching classes. So while earlier I would take an uncomfortable bus ride or an expensive auto ride from Darya Ganj to Patel Nagar, the Metro enabled me to travel the distance in half the time in just ten bucks. Around the year 2008, we would take the longest route during those days that was from Dilshad Garden and would spend cool forty minutes, just by spending 15 bucks.
I found Metro to be useful when I began working too.I always take a Metro as otherwise a road journey on my route Pitampura to Gurgaon will take a couple of hours. While the crowd has multiplied what makes Metro less than perfect is the rowdy behaviour. Pushing, shoving and not vacating the seats remains a norm. Unless people learn travelling etiquette, the Metro will be reduced to a blue line bus service.

What it takes to run a metro & the people behind it

Overhead Equipment technician (OHE)
A team of 60-odd overhead technicians check the overhead electrical lines on each of the six metro corridors before the first metro rolls out at 6 am everyday. There are two OHE (power supply systems) technicians for each train.
Workhours – 8, Shifts – 4.30 am to 11 pm

There are three train operators who work daily on a single train on an eight hour shift each. A driving inspector says, “A driver goes through a alco-test before every ride.” The drivers are also not allowed to carry cell phones.
Workhours – 8
Shift - 5 am to midnight

Token dispensing staff
There are three token dispensers per train. The token dispensing staff is also not allowed to carry their cellphones during work hours. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has outsourced the entire token dispensing staff.
Workhours – 8
Shift - 5.45 am to 11.15 pm

Assistant Line supervisor
There is one assistant line supervisor required per 15 trains. The supervisor monitors functioning of the train operators and provides necessary assistance in case of a technical snag.
Sits at various stations
Work hours – 8
Shift – 5 am to 12 midnight

Automatic Fare collection (AFC) management
There are around 1500 AFC staff, on an average 1 for each gate. A former AFC engineer says, "Initially people didn't know how to use the contact-less tokens or smart cards. We had to tell our staff to guide people on how to use the system.”

Pilot Train
A pilot train is a trial train run without passengers to check the line before actual commercial run starts every morning. Each pilot train has one operator and one engineer each for every corridor running in both directions.

Traffic controller
Traffic controllers are responsible for timely operation of all trains and also for maintaining the punctuality and to manage the train operations during failures.
There is one traffic controller deputed for 25 stations.
Workhours - 8

Operation Control Manager
One supervisor is stationed at each of the two OCCs at Shastri Park and Metro Bhawan.
An OCC manager says, “We faced an emergency this July when the power grid failed and we had to evacuate passengers.” They work in eight hours shifts.

A team of about 100 trackmen for all six lines start their job every morning at 4.30 am. On an average there are 15 trackmen for each metro train. The work includes greasing of curves, cleaning of viaduct, fixing any loose fittings. A flaw detection machine is also used.
Workhours – 8
Shift – 4.30 am to 11 pm

Station Controller
Each station has four station controllers responsible for opening and closing of station, ticketing, up keep, crowd management, and also for lost property. A former station controller says, “Once someone left a bag full of cash. We returned it after tracking the commuter. Overwhelmed he even offered a part of that cash.”
Workhours – 8
Shift - 5.30 am to midnight

Signalling and Telecom
The staff is responsible for proper functioning of signals and communication between the train operators (drivers) and the control room. There are around 50 engineers for each metro corridor.
Shift - 4.30 am to 12 midnight
Workhours - 8

Maintenance person
There are 950 maintenance staff employed for a total of 1030 cars on a single corridor. On an average one maintenance person per car is responsible for the upkeep of the train which takes place mostly in the night hours at the depot.

Crowd management
On an average 15 personnel at each station are deployed. For bigger stations such as Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate the number goes upto 100. However, there are few stations where there is no such staff deployed.
Workhours – 8
Shift – 5.45 am to 12 midnight

Train cleaners
80-90 persons clean 30-35 trains in big depots and 20-25 persons responsible for the cleaning of 5-7 trains. The exterior of the train is wiped and interior is cleaned by the housekeeping staff.
Workhours – 8
Shift – mostly during night