Problems have plagued Delhi Metro's showpiece line, the airport express, right from its inception. Missing deadlines on several accounts to compromising with the USP of the service, top speed, the line remained riddled with problems.
The service, which was scheduled to start before Commonwealth Games, opened partially on February 23, 2011. It failed to start the service on time as commissioner of metro rail safety (CMRS), who had inspected this line on September 27 and 28, 2010, did not give safety clearance due to certain technical deficiencies. They included signal problems and non-conduct of high-speed trials.
Even after all necessary clearances were granted, it was not a smooth ride for the service provider Reliance Infrastructure.
It took months for them to make the whole stretch operational. Promise of running trains at 120 km per hour remained on paper, as requisite nod was not given by CMRS. The high-speed service also failed to attract the airport-bound traffic and the line had to depend on office-goers -- mostly from Dwarka -- and could not touch the target ridership figure of 30,000 to 35,000 daily.
"It is true that since beginning we have faced tough times with this vertical in our business. But we are hopeful that problems would be over soon," said a Reliance Infrastructure official.
In December 2011, Delhi Metro's former chief E Sreedharan had expressed unhappiness over the 'inefficient' metro services and had threatened takeover of the airport metro express corridor from the concessionaire company.
Sreedharan had said: "If they don't improve quality of service, we will have to think of terminating the arrangement with Reliance."He had also said that DMRC's PPP experience with them (Reliance Infrastructure) was "not pleasant".