The interchange stations on the Delhi Metro have become a cheap and comfortable “meeting place” of sorts for friends who live in far off areas of the city. Some catch up for a quick chat on the station platforms, while others meet up at food joints in stations.
Anshima (24) takes the Metro from her Adarsh Nagar residence to Gurgaon every day for work. Her friend Dipika travels from Vaishali to Civil lines. With work and family pressures, the duo try to find time each month to meet at the Cafe Coffee Day in Rajiv Chowk, where the Blue Line and Yellow Line intersect, after work.
“I don’t get a lot of time to catch up with friends. So, Anshima and I fix up a day and get out an hour or so earlier from work so we can meet,” says Dipika.
Though the Metro prescribes a maximum period of 180 minutes for passengers to exit the system after entering, the “small” fine involved for overstaying does not deter those who meet up with friends at the stations.
“I have a card so I can just exit here and enter again if we end up staying for more than 40 minutes. Going outside and sitting in a restaurant takes time and money,” says Anuj, who was waiting for his friend in a food joint at Kashmere Gate Metro station.
Sitting near the exit gates of the Rajiv Chowk station with luggage, Alka Tomar says the station is a convenient place to wait while her husband finishes shopping at Connaught Place for their trip to Meerut. “I got the bags in the train from our residence in Dwarka. My husband is finishing last minute shopping,” she says.
While admitting that the Metro system has a time limit, the security personnel as well as staff at the food joints say they rarely ask people sitting in the station to move. “How can we know if a person has overstayed their time? People wait here all the time,” says a CISF officer.