How Delhi’s airport express line scripted a comeback | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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How Delhi’s airport express line scripted a comeback

The airport express line of Delhi Metro was in a dire condition when the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took over the orange line in June 2013.

delhi Updated: May 11, 2017 23:26 IST
Faizan Haidar
Metro smart cards were made valid for travel on the airport line from May 1, 2015.
Metro smart cards were made valid for travel on the airport line from May 1, 2015.(Mohd Zakir/HT FILE)

The airport express line of Delhi Metro was in a dire condition when the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) took over the orange line in June 2013. The line remained shut for six months, only about 9,000 passengers used to travel every day (against the expected ridership of 25,000) and speed was reduced to 50km/hr from 80km/hr.

But the DMRC brought it back on track, recording a ridership of 50,000 in August 2016. Now, many VIPs, including Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, travel on this line on a regular basis and tweet pictures.

To attract passengers, the DMRC revised the fare twice and made several other passenger-friendly changes to ensure more people use this line. The maximum fare has been reduced to Rs60 from Rs180. The minimum fare is now Rs10 against Rs30 in 2013.

“Various steps such as extension of timings to suit the passengers of Shatabdi Express trains, improvement of frequency from 15 minutes to 10 minutes 30 seconds, improvement of speed from 70kmph to 80kmph, 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,” said a DMRC official.

Following this, Metro smart cards were made valid for travel on the airport line from May 1, 2015 and because of this, on May 11, 2015, ridership was 26,580. Second fare reduction was introduced from September 18, 2015 and on November 5, 35,405 used the line.

On August 12, 2016, the ridership reached 50,077. “The increased footfall has resulted in increase in revenue both from fare and non-fare. As more passengers are coming in, the land which was lying vacant is now attracting bidders. At Shivaji stadium, most of the space is out for rent,” said a DMRC official.

According to DMRC, the monthly average ridership on this section has increased from 17,535 in April 2015 to 37,772 in July 2016, registering a more than double increase.

To increase the number of airport-bound passengers, DMRC had also written a letter to the aviation ministry asking them to either shift the low-cost airlines from terminal 1D to Terminal 3 or provide connectivity to transport check-in baggage from Aerocity Metro Station to Terminal 1D.

Over 30,000 passengers use domestic terminal for arrival and departure everyday but since only Air India provide city check-in facility at New Delhi railway station, only 50 passengers avail this facility.