Over 3,600 riders used the Mandi House and Janpath stations on the first day, after they were opened to the public on Thursday, four months ahead of schedule.
The two stations are the first to be opened in Phase-III of Delhi Metro that is expected to be completed by 2016. Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu flagged off the first Metro train at 9.30 am at Mandi House metro station.
By 8 pm on Thursday, a total of 1,668 and 1,984 commuters had travelled from Mandi House and Janpath Metro stations respectively, a spokesperson for Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) told Newsline.
According to officials, the section has been completed in less than three years, as it was originally scheduled to open in October 2014. “The trains on this section will run with a frequency of 3.25 minutes. The new stations — Janpath and Mandi House — are equipped with token vending machines and add value-cum-card readers,” the spokesperson said.
“Mandi House station has been expanded to cater to additional passengers, as around 70,000 new passengers are expected to use the station by 2016,” he added.
The two new stations are part of the 3.23 km long underground section, from Central Secretariat to Mandi House that extends up to Kashmere Gate. This is an extension of the 22-km long Violet Line — Central Secretariat- Badarpur — that was constructed in Phase-II of the Delhi Metro.
The new inter-change point at Mandi House between Blue Line (Dwarka-Noida/Vaishali) and Violet Line is expected to decrease congestion at Rajiv Chowk inter-change point that used to see a footfall of over five lakh commuters who travelled daily on the Blue and Yellow Lines (Gurgaon to Jahangirpuri).
Gunjan Piplani (28), who lives in Tagore Garden, West Delhi and travels to Greater Kailash in Southeast Delhi for work every day, said she not only saved time but no longer had to “deal with the messy crowd” at Rajiv Chowk.
“I board the Metro at Tagore Garden and get down at Kailash Colony on Violet Line. The rush at Rajiv Chowk during office hours is maddening. But today, I saved around 10 minutes of travel time…It was an easy process to change trains at Mandi House,” Piplani told Newsline.
Metro officials, while conceptualising the Mandi House interchange, had exactly this in mind — to decongest Rajiv Chowk — as commuters of the Violet Line bound for Blue Line would be able to change trains at Mandi House without changing trains twice at Central Secretariat and Rajiv Chowk.
The proximity of the new station is also a boon for commuters who use other modes of transport.
Pallavi Joshi, who works at National Aids Control Organisation, used to travel by car every day from Preet Vihar in East Delhi to Connaught Place, where her office is located.
“I usually avoid the Metro due to the heavy rush but decided to use it today and I was surprised at how fast I reached Mandi House from Janpath. I will switch to the Metro as I can save money and no longer have to struggle to park my car every day,” Joshi said.
She was seconded by Samarth Pathak (26), who works with Aspen Centre, in Thapar House, Janpath. Pathak, a Noida resident, said he had to travel till Rajiv Chowk and then take an auto to his office. “I now have a hassle-free journey till Janpath. I save Rs 25 per ride and 10 minutes of travel time. The stations are also very commuter-friendly,” Pathak said.
Attractive artwork has also been installed at both stations and the areas around the stations have been aesthetically landscaped with plants.
As part of Phase-III, Delhi Metro is constructing a total of 140 kilometres of Metro lines. The new corridors will provide Metro connectivity to the arterial Ring Road as well as Outer Ring Road of the city.