On a chilly winter day a year ago, Delhi Metro crossed into Noida, bringing a paradigm shift in the travelling habits of thousands.
The second day of the inauguration on November 11, 2009, a large number of people were seen hopping on to city's new lifeline.
As many as 47.5 million commuters either entered or exited the six Noida stations between November 2009 and October 2010.
For those staying in Noida and working or studying in Delhi, Metro up till Noida has come as a boon. One of them is Sumit Singh.
Singh, a journalist, says, "I stay in Delhi. My office is in Noida. Post-Metro, life has changed dramatically. Free of road-related tensions, I can concentrate better on my work."
Singh is not alone. There is a whole lot of people, eager the share similar experiences.
Pritam Pal Singh, a student who commutes from Noida to Delhi five times a week, said, "I take Metro from Noida and reach Rajiv Chowk in 30 minutes. In another 20 minutes, I get to Vishwavidyalya station. Earlier, it took me two hours to get there by road as there were no direct buses and I had to change conveyance at several places."
There are scores of media houses in Film City. The city has about 100 IT and BPO companies besides numerous technical and management institutions.
"Apart from avoiding mental fatigue, you save time and money too. Safety concern is also taken care of," says Divya Sharma, an employee of IT firm HCL.
For many Noida residents, Metro means much more than just a comfy ride. "In January, I met my aunt who lives in Uttam Nagar in Delhi and whom I had never seen before in my life. We could meet thanks to the Metro connectivity," says Himanshu Mehta (20), a resident of Noida's Sector 20.
But the picture is not all rosy, especially for people like Vivek Chhibber, a resident of Mohan Garden in Delhi, who works at a call centre in Noida.
"Our company stopped the cab service last year when Metro came to Noida. We were told to take Metro trains and then a company cab as shuttle service to reach office. But individual Metro fares proved costlier than shared cab charges. We have reverted to the old system of company cab all the way to save money," Mehta said.
Intra-city connectivity also continues to be a problem. A city with more than 150 sectors, there are only six stations in Noida, catering only to nine immediate and as many adjoining sectors.
"There are about 100 MNC offices in Noida spread all over the city. But Metro caters only to a handful of sectors. Intra-city connectivity has to improve," Chhibber said.
"Technical snags are a major irritant. Plus, there is not much space for parking at some of the stations in Noida. Also, Metro operations should be extended till late night so that hoteliers like me can use the service," said Vikas Mehta, a resident of Vikas Puri and owner of a restaurant in Noida.