A housewife in south Delhi's Greater Kailash no longer needs to postpone shopping at north Delhi's Khari Baoli market, and north campus students are not at the mercy of over-charging auto rickshaws to shop at Sarojini Nagar anymore. All thanks to the Delhi Metro.
“Those living in south Delhi would visit the north only when it was absolutely necessary and vice versa. Who would have thought that Delhi Metro could change people’s lifestyles,” said VK Haldar (75), a Saket resident.
“One had to wait 20 minutes at Connaught Place to get a bus to Saket. The Metro gets you there in the same time. Plus it is more comfortable,” said Pakhi Khanduri, a student at Miranda House, who lives in Mehrauli.
Rajni Mehra (37), a government employee does not dread going to her office in Karol Bagh like she used to.
“Earlier, I used to be in a foul mood by the time I reached office because of the hassle of changing buses, Metros and autos. This has changed with the Metro coming to South Delhi,” Mehra, a resident of Saket said.
The Metro has seamlessly connected commercial hubs such as south Delhi's Nehru Place and Hauz Khas with Chandni Chowk and Kamla Nagar.
South Delhi markets have seen more business since the Metro started. “We have a 10%-15% increase in the number of people on weekdays. On weekends the numbers go up by 20%,” said an official at the Select City Walk mall in Saket.
But not all are upbeat about the Metro, mainly because of lack of connecting services.
“My house is about a kilometre away from the Metro station. There are no feeder buses or rickshaws. The only option is autos that charge Rs 30 for such a short distance. Why would I take so much trouble for the Metro?” asks Aniruddh Biswas, a resident of Green Park, whose office is in Gurgaon.
Reaching college was never so easy
Radhika Samson is a huge fan of the Delhi Metro. After all, it is the Metro that has saved her a two-hour journey to college in North Campus.
"I remember the harrowing time I use to have commuting to the arts faculty at north campus when admissions to MA courses were opened.
It took me more than two hours and three modes of transport to reach the camps," said the 23-year-old resident of southeast Delhi's
Up till August, Radhika and her classmates from Delhi University's Lady Shri Ram College had just two options of commuting: Expensive auto rides or car pools.
"While the first was agonisingly long and more of a luxury on a student's monthly travel budget, organising the second was a major hassle," says Samson. Samson and her friends' decided to take the Metro for the first time after they were stranded near Nehru Place Metro station without any transportation.
“We were in a rush and it was the first day of college. We'd talked to innumerable auto rickshaw drivers but nobody was ready to go to North Campus; so we decided to give the Metro a try. We got our smart cards made that very evening. It was the best ride of our lives,” she said. Jatin Anand
Don’t have to worry about car parking
Resident, East of Kailash
The Delhi Metro has brought businessman Karan Aggarwal's favourite hangout spot — Central Park in Connaught Place — closer to him.
“I was out of town when the service started; so the first thing I did after returning was to take the Metro to CP so I could hang out at Central Park for a couple of minutes,” said Aggarwal, 24, a East of Kailash resident.
Like most of his neighbours — mostly businessmen and corporate executives who work in central Delhi — lack of parking space is the last thing on Aggarwal’s mind.
“It's a sea change. Earlier, I used to plan my trip according to the blocks in Connaught Place where I could find parking space. But not any more. Metro has changed all that,” he said.
Thanks to the Metro, Aggarwal says his neighbourhood and the areas around it see lesser traffic jams.
"South Delhi is and always has been notorious for its traffic jams but with most people taking the Metro to and from work, the number of jams has reduced and so has the incessant honking by drivers,” Aggarwal said. Jatin Anand
City hotspots are within reach
Resident, Safdurjung Enclave
For Vijyant Singh, a first year student at Delhi University, the mobility that the Metro has brought to residents of south Delhi is amazing.
“Till just a few months ago, hanging out with friends was a real challenge. Going to malls with such ease was unthinkable,” says the 18-year-old resident of Safdurjung Enclave.
For youngsters all over Delhi, access has improved remarkably since the Metro came to South Delhi and Gurgaon. The Metro has provided
them with an economical mode of travel and has also brought along independence. "Earlier, a trip to the malls in Saket would have cost me Rs 70. Today it costs less than Rs 15.
Plus my friends, even those living in north and west Delhi can meet me easily,” he says.
A member of the British Council Library in KG Marg, Vijyant also gets to spend more time in the library and doesn't have to worry about rushing home.
“Before the Metro all I could think about rushing back home after reaching the library. It’s definitely easier now. In simple words, hanging out is a lot more fun now,” he says. Mallica Joshi