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Crowded stations, slow trains

Technical problem affected metro services on the Dwarka Sector 9-Noida Sector 32 line (Line 3) on Wednesday morning for almost an hour, yet again, reports Atul Mathur.

delhi Updated: Nov 19, 2009 00:16 IST
Atul Mathur

Technical problem affected metro services on the Dwarka Sector 9-Noida Sector 32 line (Line 3) on Wednesday morning for almost an hour, yet again.

A software malfunction led to all the trouble.

The central control room could not read the unique identification number of one of the trains near Janakpuri station. The entire system was put on manual mode and movement of trains slowed down.

Several trains stopped at stations longer than scheduled causing crowding at many other stations. The Dwarka-Noida line is the longest metro line in Delhi. The full journey on this route takes 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Wednesday’s delay on line 3 cannot be seen in isolation.

There has been a sudden rise in similar incidents of technical snags causing delays ever since the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) started the Yamuna Bank station.

With the addition of the Noida section and introduction of new trains manufactured by Germany-based Bombardier Transportation, technical faults and delays have only increased.

DMRC officials said such technical problems occur whenever new trains are introduced and they were on the job to sort it out.

Rajiv Jyoti, managing director of Bombardier Transportation-India, did not respond to our several telephone calls and text messages.

Speaking to HT earlier, company’s director (communications) Luis Ramos had said: “Such problems in the system happen when a train is introduced. It is not related to the safety and security of the passengers.”

Daily commuters said the performance of the metro has only deteriorated in the past few weeks.

“Metro is no better than the EMUs (local trains by railways) these days,” said Rajiv Kulshreshtha who travels to his Janakpuri District Centre office from Barakhamba Metro station every day.

Almost 45 per cent of the total passengers on all three sections of the metro travel on Line 3.

At Rajiv Chowk metro station, which witnesses over three lakh passengers coming in or going out, queues to board the train often go up to the fare collection gates.

“One has to let 2-3 trains go before finding a place to squeeze inside a heavily crowded train. Its is getting increasing difficult for us to travel in the metro,” said Trisha Mittal, a management student and resident of Subhash Nagar.

“With the opening of the Noida section, the number of passengers on Line 3 has increased to about 4.3 lakh passengers every day,” DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal said.

DMRC officials said the increase in number of passengers on Line 3 is beyond expectations, and hence the rush.

While the DMRC had expected an increase of 53,000 passengers on line 3 after the opening of the Noida section, 80,000 to one lakh passengers travel between Delhi and Noida every day.

“We are adding 424 coaches in our fleet. We have started receiving new coaches but the supply will only be complete by 2011. We will add five more trains on line 3 by April 2010,” Dayal said.