Scorching heat and fear of getting stuck in maddening traffic jams led to a record 10.90 lakh people taking the Delhi Metro on Wednesday, a first for the new-age transport system, which is now adding a train every 15 days to its fleet of over a 100.
The record footfall registered on Wednesday can partially be attributed to traffic advisories and police asking commuters to take the Metro to avoid getting caught in traffic jams due to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally on price rise.
Scorching heat with the temperature remaining over the 40 degree Celsius mark is one of the major reasons for the hike in passengers.
A total of 10,92,780 people travelled on the Metro surpassing the earlier record set on Monday when 10,58,664 people travelled by the Metro, Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) Chief Public Relations Officer Anuj Dayal said.
On Wednesday, the over-crowded Line 3 (Dwarka Sector 9 to NOIDA City Centre/Anand Vihar) recorded the maximum ridership at 4,63,523 passengers, followed by Line 2 (Jehangirpuri-Central Secretariat) at 2,85,825 and Line 1 (Rithala-Dilshad Garden) at 2,37,465.
An additional 50,000 people took the Metro on Wednesday. It has been witnessing additional footfalls ever since the onset of summer.
Since the inauguration of the Inderlok-Mundka corridor on April 2, the total ridership figures of the Delhi Metro had consistently been crossing the 10 lakh mark, but this is the first time when almost 11 lakh people have travelled on the system.
Soumya Singh, a software professional who usually drives down to her office in Connaught Place (CP) from Patparganj, said she started using Metro last week to escape traffic jams and the heat.
"I am relieved now... I don't have to be at the wheels for over an hour to reach CP, which is just (a) 20-minute drive from my home. Metro is good and I don't have to bother about the heat outside. It has AC facility also," she said.
In order to cater to the increasing ridership figures, Delhi Metro is rapidly adding to its fleet of 70 train sets which were procured for phase one operations.
Currently, there are over a 100 trains in operation on the five lines of Delhi Metro with a new train being added on the system every 10 to 15 days, Dayal said.
Delhi Metro trains are today traversing over 35,000 kilometres in a day making over 1,900 trips on the five operational lines covering 111 kilometres.