In a display of how efficient public transport can democratise public spaces and drive aspirations, Dilli Haat, south Delhi’s popular hangout witnessed a huge spurt in footfalls on Saturday, compared to last weekend.
All thanks to the Delhi Metro. The ticket sales figure says it all.
Last Saturday, 2,991 tickets were sold from the counter. Compare it with this Saturday, on which, by 7 pm, (the ticket counter remains open till 10 pm) 3,600 tickets had been sold.
"Today, we expect to sell about 4,300 tickets, a 30 per cent rise over last Saturday," said Rajesh Juneja, manager, Dilli Haat.
Dilli Haat is right next to the Central Secretariat-Gurgaon metro line, which was inaugurated on Friday.
The Udyog Bhavan to Saket section of the line witnessed a footfall of 1.02 lakh on Saturday. In comparison, the footfall at other stations was minuscule. At Hauz Khas, it was 19,200, at Malviya Nagar — 16,900, at Saket — 16,800 and at AIIMS — 16,000.
The overall ridership on the Metro was 10.51 lakh on Saturday, which is normal for the weekend. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) expects the numbers to go up from Monday.
At Dilli Haat, the weekend brought cheer to food stall managers, who said there was a hike in both footfalls and sales, mainly driven by youngsters.
"Today, there has been atleast 30 per cent rise in sales. We had a steady stream of university students throughout the day," says Diwan Singh, manager, Sikkim food stall.
Gopal, manager of the Rajasthan food stall, was elated. "There has been an increase of 25 per cent in the weekend business."
Juneja hopes that the rise in numbers is not a one-day affair. "We hope to have visitors from Gurgaon and also from east and north Delhi. We hope for a 40 per cent increase in average footfalls," he said.
In another instance of the Metro adding to business sales in its vicinity, Select Citywalk, south Delhi's upscale hotspot, had visitors from distant locations, such as Preet Vihar and GTB Nagar.
Ragini Saxena, a resident of Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi visited Select City Walk, something, she says, she wanted to do for the past one year.
Many, like Rishi Kumar (33), a software professional, hoped that the Metro could also lead to the revival of the PVR Anupam complex in Saket.
"The Metro, which connects Delhi University to Saket could well revive it," said Kumar.