As morning peak hour traffic to Gurgaon and Noida continues to surge, Delhi Metro awaits response from the Centre on its proposal to stagger office timings. On a Monday morning this February, the DMRC recorded Peak Hour Peak Direction Traffic (PHPDT) of 34,160 passengers heading towards HUDA City Centre and 22,802 passengers towards Noida City Centre.
The morning peak hours on Delhi Metro are between 9 am and 11 am, which means more than 68,000 passengers travel to Gurgaon and over 25,000 passengers take the Metro to Noida every day.
With the disintegration of Connaught Place and Barakhamba Road as the central business district and private offices shifting out to Gurgaon and Noida, the Delhi Metro has been witnessing growing traffic on its two corridors linking the satellite cities. Travel patterns indicate that office-goers, mostly below the age of 40, take the Metro to their offices in Gurgaon and Noida every weekday morning whereas a higher influx of commuters, largely traders from the two other NCR towns — Ghaziabad and Faridabad, is recorded during the peak morning hours.
The ridership study based on data from 2016 further shows that only one per cent of Delhi Metro’s traffic comprises senior citizens. While the rush hour jostle has made Metro commute a challenge for the physically weak, senior citizens, especially women, have renewed their clamour for a separate coach on Metro trains. The feasibility of such a provision, however, is ruled out owing to low ridership figures.
“Senior citizens have often written to us demanding either a separate coach or space in the reserved women’s coach. Both are not feasible because the ridership of those above 60 years is just one per cent and making space in coaches reserved for women would mean compromising on their safety,” explained Sharat Sharma, Director (Operations), DMRC.
“The larger issue is overcrowding. Senior citizens find it difficult to board trains during peak hours when there is too much jostling. To ease out the pressure on metro trains during the morning peak hours, we have several times in the past written to the Centre to stagger office timings. We have also approached the administration of Noida and Gurgaon to look into this. Offices across sectors start around the same time in the morning. Tweaking this by just an hour will make a big difference,” Sharma added.
“On Sundays, when all offices are closed, our ridership falls by 30 percent. The dip could be higher but on this day there are commuters who take a joy ride or take the metro on their outing.”
The trends for the Ghaziabad and Faridabad corridors, are however, reverse, as more traffic flows into Delhi, headed mainly to the trading centres in Chandni Chowk and Kashmere Gate.
The PHPDT figures for the Vaishali (Ghaziabad) to Delhi corridor show 27,168 passengers travel to the capital during the morning peak hour. On the more recently completed Faridabad corridor, 14,060 passengers board the metro to Delhi during the morning peak hour.
“The evening peak hours, between 4 pm and 8 pm, witness fewer people as it is staggered over four hours. But the commuters who take the morning train to work or college, take the train back home too. So the up and down figures largely corroborate,” Sharma said.
A study of the commuter profile of Delhi Metro’s ridership in 2016 shows that 61.29 per cent is from the service class, 17 per cent from the business class, 16.07 per cent students and 5.37 per cent unemployed.
Of the service class that takes the Metro regularly to work, 77.99 per cent are from the private sector and the remaining 22.01 per cent are in government jobs.
In 2016, while senior citizens avoided the Metro, 88 per cent of its commuters were below the age of 40 years.
Around 47 per cent of the total ridership was between 20 and 30 years of age, 31 percent between 30 and 40 years, 8 percent between 40 and 50 years, 3 percent between 50 and 60 years, 1 percent above 60 years and 10 percent below 20 years.