On Tuesday, Delhi Metro’s ridership crossed the 10 lakh figure. On Thursday, the aggregate figure of people who’d travelled on the metro since it started on December 25, 2002, crossed the one billion (100 crore) mark.
While increasing ridership has sparked jubilations in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), it has also made officials cautious of challenges that lie ahead.
On the top of their mind right now is the Anand Vihar section, scheduled to open in December.
With increasing load on its network and shortage of trains, DMRC officials are undecided on whether the Anand Vihar section should be opened.
While senior Delhi metro officials refused to comment on the issue, sources said the opening of Anand Vihar line might have to wait till more trains are added to the existing fleet.
DMRC had earlier decided to open the 6.17-kilometre Yamuna Bank-Anand Vihar ISBT section in December 2009. But the sudden surge in ridership after the opening of the Noida section has forced a rethink.
“Noida section has added almost double the number of passengers than we were expecting,” a senior Delhi metro official said, requesting anonymity. “The opening of Anand Vihar line will add more passengers on this line.”
The Anand Vihar section will branch off from the Dwarka–Noida line at Yamuna Bank. According to DMRC officials, over one lakh passengers are expected to travel on this line every day.
The DMRC had planned to start this section with three trains. DMRC officials now admit three trains may not be enough.
More than 4.3 lakh commuters use the metro every day. The 47.1-kilometre Dwarka-Noida line is the most crowded.
According to DMRC officials, 38 four-coach trains run 490 trips on this section every day. But the complaints of overcrowding and delays haven’t stopped coming in.
For an additional one lakh passengers, the metro needs a substantial number of trains, which it does not have.