Smooth but slow on Day 1 as Delhi Metro comes back to life
The first line to be opened for passengers in Delhi was the 48.8km Yellow Line — connecting Huda City Centre in Gurugram and Samaypur Badli in north Delhi — which operated in two shifts of four hours each in the morning and the evening.Updated: Sep 08, 2020, 05:40 IST
Delhi Metro services came back to life at 7am sharp on Monday, more than five months after being shut down as part of anti-Covid measures.
The first line to be opened for passengers in Delhi was the 48.8km Yellow Line — connecting Huda City Centre in Gurugram and Samaypur Badli in north Delhi — which operated in two shifts of four hours each in the morning and the evening.
The line recorded a ridership of over 15,500 on Monday (till 8.30pm).
Around 7,500 passengers used the line between 7am and 11am, and more than 8,000 between 4pm and 8.30pm.
Along with this, the Rapid Metro in Gurugram, spanning 11.7km, was also reopened.
Delhi Metro’s estimated average daily ridership on the Yellow Line, before Covid-19 forced it to shut down, was around nine lakh on weekdays.
On Monday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet lauded the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) arrangements.
“I am glad that Metro services are starting from today (Monday). The [Delhi] Metro has made good arrangements. We all should not be negligent in taking precautions,” Kejriwal tweeted.
The Metro sputtered back to life amid a thin footfall, with teams of DMRC officials, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and civil defence volunteers stationed across stations to ensure distancing norms were followed. While crowds picked up by evening, ample space was available in stations and inside trains.
To help passengers get used to the new functioning of the system, regular announcements were also made on how to go about their journey. Metro officials were also present to guide passengers through the process.
“We got complete cooperation from commuters, who availed the services for the first time in 169 days,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC.
At entry gates, passengers were rationed into queues by security staff, who also made commuters sanitise their hands before allowing them to enter.
Upon entering the gates of the metro stations — where entry and exit have been limited to one or two gates depending on the size and footfall of the station— passengers were screened for their temperatures after which they were asked to go through another round of sanitization through automated hand sanitizer machines.
Further, passengers with baggage were also asked to get their luggage disinfected, before being allowed to proceed for security checks — the entire process adding five to six minutes to the normal check in time for passengers during non-rush hours .
While this detailed process led to queues forming outside some stations in the evening office hours, passengers ensured that there was no crowding and ample space was left between them as they waited in lines.
While most stations had proper floor markings to tell people where to stand while waiting for trains, some — like Guru Dronacharya, Arjangarh, Adarsh Nagar and Patel Chowk —the platform area did not have positions marked on the floor for passengers.
Senior DMRC officials admitted that a few stations, where passenger footfall was not high, might have been missed. They, however, assured these things would be resolved as operations picked up.
Some passengers who paid using UPI methods said the payment process required a longer waiting time, which also led to crowding at counters.
“Top-ups for cards using debit cards were done instantly, but if a person was paying through UPI, the server was not responding immediately,” said a DMRC official at the ticketing counter at the Rajiv Chowk Metro station.
Rajesh Ranjan, director-general, CISF, also reviewed the operational preparedness of the Metro operations on Monday morning.