With water taking up residence on Gurgaon roads, people rushed towards the only commuting option that seemed unaffected by it -- the rapid metro. The public transport witnessed almost 25% increase in ridership over the last two days. Autorickshaw drivers made a killing with many charging almost triple the normal fare even for short distances.
On Friday, the ridership of rapid metro steeped to 46,000-47,000. On Wednesday, prior to the rain, the ridership was approximately 35,000.
The 5.1 km rapid metro stretch covers six stations -- DLF Phase 3, Moulsari Avenue, Cyber City, Belverdere Towers, DLF Phase 2 and Sikanderpur (intersecting station for Delhi Metro Yellow Line).
Anirudh Sarnalia , who lives in Arjun Nagar, Delhi, and works in CyberHub, said, “On Thursday evening, I took the office cab to reach home. It took me three hours. I did not want to endure a similar experience again and the metro service was a major relief to reach and return from office on Friday,” he said.
Throughout the day, even the less crowded stations such as DLF Phase 3 and Moulsari Avenue were packed, Rapid Metro officials said.
“Usually, the Moulsari Avenue platform is deserted . But on Friday, there was barely any space to stand,” Aditya Sharma, a resident of Moulsari Avenue, said.
To accommodate the load, officials increased the number of trips and coaches.
“There was a sudden influx of commuters following the jams. The parking sites in all our stations were filled through the day. Arrangements were made to cater to the extra load,” a spokesperson of Rapid Metro said.
Autorickshaw drivers in Gurgaon adopted a “surge pricing” of their own, taking advantage of the downpour and waterlogging.
The normal rate of Rs 50 from Huda City Centre metro station to South City 1 was increased to Rs 100-120 on Thursday.
“I took an autorickshaw from my office in Sector 29 to my residence in Sector 40. Generally, it costs me Rs 60, but I had to pay Rs120 after bargaining,” said Yohima Batra, a commuter.
“It is ridiculous, the amount of money the drivers are demanding. I have never paid Rs100 to travel for two kilometers,” said Geetika Pant, a resident.
The rickshaw drivers said they were taking a risk driving through roads with potholes and open manholes.
“The prices have been hiked seeing the condition of the city. We are providing people a safe travel option even in this weather. The maintenance of our rickshaws is also being compromised,” said Swades Kumar, a 24-year-old autorickshaw driver.