Queues outside Metro stations have begun to spill onto footpaths. No, this is not an outcome of a technical glitch but the increased onslaught of commuters, thanks to the biting winter chill.
The onset of winter has made commuters in Delhi take stock of their commuting options. However, this has spelt good news for the Metro, which has seen a marked increase in the number of commuters over the last few months. With trains being centrally heated, people have decided to opt out of travelling in autorickshaws and buses.
“Usually, I travel by auto to work because it is more convenient. But since it has been so cold, I prefer travelling by Metro till Govindpuri and then proceed to work,” said Rajni Sinha, a resident of Badarpur, who travels to Alaknanda for work.
At some of the major Metro stations such as Barakhamba Road, Rajiv Chowk, Vishwavidyalaya, Saket and Kashmere Gate, queues have increased, sometimes spilling out of the station area.
Not only has the Metro proved to be a more convenient mode of travel for those frequenting the 11th Auto Expo, but the upward trend has been visible since the winter set in.
“While there was an increase in August, there has been a jump over the months of November to January with the average footfall being 18 lakh,” said a Metro spokesperson.
However, this shift in commuter preference has spelt a downward spiral for autorickshaw drivers, who claim that their earnings have dipped substantially over the last few months. “People don’t like taking autos in the winter. The winter has really eaten into our earnings. Even for short distances, people prefer to walk instead of taking autos,” said Mohan Kumar, an autorickshaw driver.