Once they boarded the metro on the Yamuna Bank - Anand Vihar line, it was a comfortable, hassle-free ride for thousands of commuters from east Delhi and Ghaziabad.
What was harrowing, especially for Ghaziabad residents, was getting to the Metro station itself.
Till 8 pm on Thursday, the five stations of this corridor had grossed over Rs 8.7 lakh from sale of tokens and smart cards and registered a footfall of more than 65,000 passengers. Transport hub Anand Vihar and commercial centre Laxmi Nagar were the two busiest stations with footfall of 13,000 and 11,500 respectively.
Commuters did throng the stations, but not before braving lack of connectivity to get there.
Indirapuram resident and senior executive, Deepak Sharma, for instance, has decided to use his own vehicle to drive to his office in Delhi, even though the Anand Vihar metro sation is close to his home. Sharma said the metro ride is simply not worth the hassle of getting to the station.
Lack of connecting transport, non-availability of parking lots inside Ghaziabad borders, and heavily encroached/ congested borders have made Anand Vihar Metro station a distant dream for Ghaziabad commuters. For many daily commuters from Indiapruam, Vaishali, Vasundhara, Suryanagar and Brij Vihar, the metro in their neighbourhood is still a distant dream, even though Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) officials expected over 40,000 Ghaziabad commuters to turn up for the route.
“The situation is pathetic. We have no direct connectivity to Anand Vihar border due to shortage of internal transport system and lack of feeder buses. We will approach the NCR Planning Board to chalk out plans to connect us to the Anand Vihar station,” said A.N. Jha, Indirapuram RWA Federation President.
When asked, Regional Transport Officer Lalji Chaudhary and Roadways' Regional Manager Ashok Kumar denied any plans for feeder buses to the Anand Vihar metro station.
“Using autos and cycle rickshaws takes more than 30 minutes to reach Anand Vihar. Autos already hiked their fares by Rs 3 to Rs 5 before the Anand Vihar line became operational," said S.K. Maheshwari from Suryanagar RWA. “If we try to use our own vehicles, there are no parking lots available inside the Ghaziabad borders. We are helpless both ways.”