Delhi Metro’s busiest 2 lines hardest hit after lockdown, shows data
The Blue Line’s average daily ridership fell 23.98% and Yellow Line’s fell 22.10% in May-July this year, compared to the same period in 2019.
Finding a seat on the once-crowded Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21 to Noida Electronic City/Vaishali) is considerably easier these days, even during peak hours — a very visible indicator of how ridership has fallen on the Metro over the past two years of the pandemic and the lockdowns it entailed.
Data from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) shows that the Blue Line in the city recorded the single highest drop in overall ridership when compared to pre-pandemic figures.
Between the months of May and July (till date), the average daily ridership on the Blue Line was 1.13 million passengers per day, down from 1.48 million during the same period in 2019, which is a drop of 23.98%, the DMRC said.
The Yellow Line was the second biggest loser, with a fall of 22.10% in daily ridership; its daily average ridership fell from 1.49 million in 2019 to 1.16 million passengers in May-July 2022, the data showed.
On the other hand, two lines — Green and Pink — managed to record an increase in daily ridership, according to the data released.
The Green Line (Inderlok-Brigadier Hoshiar Singh) saw an increase of 18.09% in daily ridership, recording 188,000 passengers between May and July 2022, up from 154,000 passengers between May and July 2019.
The Pink Line (Majlis Park to Shiv Vihar), which was made operational in 2018, saw the average daily ridership increase from 381,000 in May and July 2019 to 399,000 passengers in May and July 2022.
The DMRC attributed the increase on these two lines to the construction of a new halt station in Punjabi Bagh this year, which provides an interchange between the two lines, as well as the completion of a 1.5km stretch between Trilokpuri Sanjay Lake and Mayur Vihar Pocket I last year — a U-shaped loop — to make the Pink Line Delhi Metro’s longest line.
“These are the two most likely reasons for the increase. Earlier, there was no connectivity between the Green and Pink lines, but passengers are now able to interchange at Punjabi Bagh and move to other parts of Delhi. The Pink Line is now Delhi’s longest Metro line after the completion of a U-shaped loop last year and could be why ridership has increased post resumption of operations,” a DMRC spokesperson said, who asked not to be named.
DMRC’s data showed that overall daily ridership of the Delhi Metro between May and July this year was 4.15 million passengers, down by 15.14% from the 4.89 million passengers in the months of May and July 2019.
Despite a drop in ridership, the Yellow and Blue lines still remain Delhi’s busiest.
The two lines also have a combined average ridership of 2.29 million passengers a day, which is more than half, or 55.11%, of the total daily ridership of the Delhi Metro, shows the data.
This figure was 2.97 million passengers a day in 2019, with the two lines accounting for 60.7% of the total daily average ridership back then, the DMRC said.
“While we are seeing a recovery and have recorded an average daily ridership of 4.3 million passengers so far in July this year, this is still 15-20% less than the pre-Covid 19 ridership, which is reflective of the trend being seen across all major Metro networks around the world. This is largely down to corporate companies still allowing work from home, and people having not returned to travelling by Metro after the pandemic eased; they now prefer private vehicles instead,” a DMRC official said, asking not to be named.
According to the official, Blue and Yellow Metro lines connect Delhi to Noida and Gurugram, respectively, and since both the cities house a large number of corporate offices that now allow its employees to work from home, the daily ridership has reduced.
The Rapid Metro in Gurugram also saw a huge ridership loss of 44.24% — from 45,172 passengers a day (pre-Covid) to 25,187 passengers a day in May and July 2022.
In the past two years, Metro operations were suspended between March 22, 2020 and September 6, 2020 and again between May 10, 2021 and June 6, 2021, after Covid-19 cases began rising in Delhi.