Long queues everywhere – at the token and smartcard recharge counters, the security check and baggage scanner, the flap barrier gates and on the platforms. This is the sluggish beginning to a long day for many commuters at the Huda City Centre Metro station.
One of the busiest stations of the Delhi Metro and a terminal point on the yellow line, ‘crush hour’ at the Huda City Centre Metro station is anything but pleasant for commuters.
“The problem that I face regularly is the time consumed at the security check. During peak hours, the baggage scanner is overloaded and slows down, often leading to chaos,” Deepa Chawla of Sector 15 said.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC’s) figure for December last year says the average daily ridership at the Huda metro station is 52,000. This has far exceeded the initial expectations of the DMRC, meaning infrastructure at the station is inadequate to meet such a high demand.
Though entry gates and escalators were increased, it is still too little to beat the rush. Commuters say it is a herculean task to get a token or recharge a smartcard between 8am and 10 am. Often, the flap barrier gates get jammed, leading to a commotion as everyone is in a hurry.
The DMRC claims that the rush hour frequency has been increased to 2.08 minutes but commuters say it still takes at least 10 to 12 minutes to board a train.
However, a security staff deployed at the metro station pointed to the lack of discipline and impatience of passengers as the key reason for the chaos.
An official said many people do not wait in queues, leading to the rush. The official added that there are often complaints about commuters travelling in the wrong direction to get a seat in the train at Huda metro station.
There are suggestions that timings of various offices in the city should be staggered to reduce congestion, at least until new metro routes come up in Gurgaon.
As it is the last station in Gurgaon, commuters across the city have to make their way to the Huda station for metro connectivity to Delhi. This leads to traffic congestion on almost all roads leading to the station.
Vipul Wadhwa, a lawyer, said, “Starting from Sohna Road and reaching the station using public transport is time consuming as all roads to the station are choked. Even travelling on the metro has become a back-breaking exercise as it is very difficult to get a seat these days.”
YP Sachdeva, the group general manager of consultant firm RITES, says overcrowding at the Huda metro station can be avoided only if the yellow line is extended at least up to Sohna Road. “If the line is extended, at least people from that side of the city will not have to rush to the Huda metro station,” he said.
Several commuters voiced concerns about the shortage of parking space at the station. As the options for last-mile connectivity is limited and as parking lots fill up swiftly in the morning, commuters are forced to spend more on autorickshaws, which are unregulated. The prepaid auto service run by the traffic police has not helped to solve their problems, commuters said.
The DMRC has not introduced feeder bus services in Gurgaon, as the ridership is already overwhelming. In contrast, in Delhi, such services were initially introduced to attract more people.
Women commuters have been reiterating the need for better last-mile connectivity for long. For them, reaching their destinations safely from the Huda metro station is always a concern, especially at night. The fact that there is very thin police security around the station makes the situation more vulnerable for commuters.