Five-year-old Manju and her two-year-old sister, Neelam, like most passengers in the Metro which connects Mehrauli to Gurgaon, are travelling this way for the first time.
This stretch of the Metro has failed to attract regular passengers so far, unlike other lines such as that connecting Noida and Dwarka, which opened in November last year.
“We have an average ridership of around 23,000. Once the entire stretch —from Gurgaon to Jahangirpuri — opens, we are expecting a ridership of around 1.3 lakh,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson. The rest of the stretch, from Qutab Minar to Central Secretariat, is set to open next month.
Most of the people going in the Metro are either first time travellers who want to see what the Metro is like or students who get on once in a while. “Aaj pehle baar aaye hain, ghoomne ke liye. Bahut sundar hai Metro (We have come on the Metro for the first time today. It is very beautiful),” said 15-year-olds Kabir and Bhutia Singh, who work for a tent house company in Sikandarpur.
The areas around this stretch of the Metro are littered with villages and villagers taking joy-rides form a big part of the ridership currently.
“My elder brother’s family has come to Delhi for the first time and that’s why we decided to take the Metro today. We wanted to see what it was about,” said Mahesh Kumar, who lives in Sultanpur.
Vasudha Sharma, 25, a resident of Anand Vihar, was also travelling on this line for the first time on Thursday. Sharma, who comes to Gurgaon to attend a teacher’s training course, said: “I am waiting for the day the whole stretch opens. Travelling will be very comfortable then.”
Many residents feel that the Metro has failed to have an impact because the city lacks other connecting public transport.
“The Metro may get us to a certain point but beyond that there are no buses or autos. There are only cycle rickshaws. It is better to take a car along,” said Pallavi Joshi, a Gurgaon resident, who works in a BPO.