Though the Delhi Metro's ridership has seen a dramatic surge in the last three years, it has lost its credibility as a reliable public transport system. The reason: Frequent technical glitches and disruptions.
While the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has termed these snags as "minor" and "teething problems", sources said the company is still grappling for solutions.
Though the DMRC seems to have identified and rectified the problems with its new trains - purchased from German-giant Bombardier Transportation, the problems in its electrical lines and signaling system have only gone up in the past year.
In most cases, the trains stopped after sparks were noticed in the electricity lines from where the trains draw electricity to run and pantographs (the equipment which draws power and supply it to the trains) were found burnt. In some cases, the software that runs signaling system developed problems, leading to loss of individual identification number of the trains.
"On the Gurgaon line, it is the neutral section (where the electricity supply changes from one sub-station to another) in the overhead electrical line which is giving trouble. We have found a temporary solution to it. The trains now bypass the neutral section. Our expert teams - comprising foreign experts, engineers of the electricity companies and our engineers - are trying to find a permanent solution," DMRC managing director E.Sreedharan said.
"Signalling problems mainly occur due to theft of copper-made signalling cables. Our system is new and taking time to stabilize," he added.
The Jahangirpuri-Gurgaon section, which opened in parts, and Dwarka-Noida section, Delhi metro's two longest and crowded Metro lines are most prone to the technical glitches. Sources said the DMRC commissioned the corridors without giving much time for the network to stabilize.
"In an attempt to meet the Commonwealth Games deadline set by the government, the Delhi Metro allowed movement of trains at a time when the tracks were still being laid, electrical sub-stations were being constructed and the train operators were being trained," said a senior DMRC official, requesting anonymity.
Even international technical experts called by the DMRC have failed to offer a solution to the Metro's problems.