The much-awaited high-speed Delhi Airport Metro Express line started operations on Wednesday.
However, very few passengers chose to travel by Metro on the 23-kilometre airport rail-link connecting the New Delhi Railway Station with T3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Around 2,000 people travelled by the Express line Metro till 8pm on Wednesday, official sources said.
While the Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure), the concessionaire company, attributed the thin traffic to lack of public awareness, the commuters, especially the airport-bound ones, had something else to say. They believe the service is not a viable option for air travellers.
According to them, poor frequency, limited operational hours (6 am to 10 pm), lack of smooth connectivity with several parts of the city are some of the drawbacks. Most of the domestic flights are during early morning and late evening hours. Besides, international flights are scheduled mostly during late night. The Metro service is of little use to air travellers who would want to catch early morning or late evening flights.
“It would suit me better to take a cab and reach the airport in 40-45 minutes. If I take the Metro, I have to leave home keeping an extra hour in hand, said Vishal Ranjan, a resident of Mayur Vihar.
Moreover, the new service will largely be a joy ride till baggage handling and luggage check-in facilities are made available at the stations and Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aerocity stations are opened. Many airport-bound travellers boarded the Metro on Wednesday just to try out the option. Most did not find it a viable option to reach the airport faster. Manisha Sharma of GK-I said: “Travelling by Metro to the airport will cost me about R400 and take an hour-and-a-half to reach the airport, while it will cost me Rs 250 and take 45 minutes by cab.”
Though passengers flying from T3 may like to travel by Metro, domestic fliers travelling by low-cost airlines from old terminal 1D would not like to take the expressline.
However, Lalit Jalan, CEO and director, Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, said: “It will meet the pressing need for fast, convenient and cost-effective mode of travelling that connects the city with the airport.”