A track circuit failure, a tin sheet stuck in the overhead wiring and a snag in the automated fare collection (AFC) gates -- all within a week -- has not only caused inconvenience to commuters but also dented Delhi Metro’s image as a reliable public transport system.
Frequent snags in Delhi Metro, especially on the Blue Line (Dwarka-Noida/Vaishali), have become a routine these days.
On Monday morning, passengers at the Vaishali Metro station had to wait for an hour to get into the station because of a snag in the AFC gates. Last Friday, trains ran slow throughout the day due to a technical snag.
“It is the longest route and most of it is exposed to nature. The problem in overhead wires happens because of change in season. Because of heat and frequent thunderstorms, this line is the most vulnerable. The track circuit problem occurs because of variation in temperature,” said a DMRC official, requesting anonymity.
Technical snags are not the only problems ailing the line. With over 50 km of network, five interchange stations and 30% increase in the expected ridership, the longest and busiest line of Delhi Metro is unable to take the load.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) estimated that ridership in this line would be 9.18 lakh per day but in August 2015, it had reached 11.94 lakh per day. This line carries over 30% of the Metro’s passengers and since most of it is elevated and open, the vulnerability to snags is higher.
Officials said the AFC gates can handle 17 passengers per minute and at present it handles 11 per minute on an average. But during peak hours, the figure could go well beyond 17.
“The wires are in the open and even when a kite or bird gets stuck, metro operation is affected. Also the growth is more than expected due to which at many stations the waiting time is more than what it should be. Since, majority of the interchange stations are on this line, passengers travelling in Delhi Metro trains have to come to this line. All things combined have led to frequent snags,” said a Delhi Metro official, requesting anonymity.