Delhi cops, truckers offer rides to commuters stuck after snag on Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line
Vaibhav Misra, a 30-year-old banker, was in the national capital for a job interview at a private firm in Noida on Tuesday. He planned to take the Metro from Qutub Minar station but was denied entry as the power line snag had by then disrupted services.
He rushed to get an auto rickshaw or even a cab, but was outnumbered by several others like him.
“My meeting was scheduled for 1pm. I am two hours late and still stuck. I am new to the city and do not know my way around much. I asked others and found out there is no direct bus to Noida, and cabs are charging way too much,” said Misra.
Many on Tuesday were stuck inside trains and in stations after a breakdown in the overhead electrification on the Yellow Line between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur. Metro officials estimated that around 5,600 passengers were stuck inside two trains that were halted, while thousands others were inside stations.
“I almost collapsed in Delhi Metro today. People helpless and suffocating because of no ventilation and no source of fresh air. I requested permission on 155370 (the Metro helpline number) to break open the window but the executive denied. Response time 1 hour 15 mins. In Trauma (sic)” tweeted Pankaj Dugar, a commuter.
Around 9.30am, when the Metro network is packed with office goers, the disruption led to hundreds of passengers on the roads desperately trying to find alternative modes to reach their offices. Trucks and even tractors were packed with these passengers outside Qutub Minar Metro station, giving lifts till Gurugram for money.
“The truck driver is charging ₹50 from each passenger, and you can see how he has packed them like animals. But many here cannot afford auto rickshaws or cabs; they are charging too much and they need to reach work so this is their best alternative it seems,” said Nidhi Agarwal, who preferred waiting for a cab.
Delhi Police also stepped in to ferry the stranded passengers from Qutub Minar metro station to Gurugram. Delhi traffic police also arranged for police vans and buses, free of cost.
“We helped several commuters to reach their destinations, who were stuck due to the Metro snag, between Sultanpur to Qutub Minar station. We used police buses and trucks to ferry passengers,” said deputy commissioner of police (south) Vijay Kumar.
Delhi Metro also operated its feeder buses for the commuters.
Those who could not avail the services reported that auto rickshaw drivers charged almost ten times the usual fare.
“I came from Nanda Hospital in Chhatarpur to Qutub Minar metro station. We were five people. Normally the auto rickshaw drivers charge ₹10 per person. We were left amazed when the auto rickshaw driver asked us to pay ₹100 per person,” said Manoj Kumar, who lives near Lado Sarai.
As passengers suffered, many enterprising businesses located along the Mehrauli-Gurugram Road between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur took advantage of the situation .
The main benefactors from the disruption to the service were autorickshaw drivers and vendors selling water and cigarettes.
Manasi Sharma, a BPO worker, was in for a shock when an autorickshaw driver quoted a fare of ₹400 for a trip shorter than four kilometres, from Qutub Minar to Sultanpur. “The autos charge around ₹100 but today, they are just exploiting the commuters,” she said.