Businessman Mahendra Khetrapal and his family had planned to ring in the new year with a picnic at Lodhi Gardens but the odd-even policy came in the way. Khetrapal, a resident of Hauz Khas, reworked the plan as he has an even-numbered car . The family of five turned to Delhi Metro, a service they rarely use.
“It is a difficult thing to give up your car one day suddenly. For once we even thought we would just completely drop our plans but then our school-going daughter suggested we give it a shot and take the Metro. Dependent on our private car, we had barely explored the Metro much so far. Only our children would take it once in a while. But this was not a bad experience. The Metro is not even as crowded as it is said to be,” Khetrapal, 50, told The Indian Express outside the Qutab Minar Metro station.
Khetrapal’s perception of the Delhi Metro’s easy day might be a little off the mark because the mass rapid transit system carried a much lower passenger load Friday, with most corporate offices, schools and colleges enjoying a holiday. The Metro that on an average ferries 27 lakh commuters per day, had a ridership of 19.08 lakh passengers till 8 pm. The figure is, however, higher than last Friday, Christmas, also a holiday, when 15.87 lakh passengers took the Metro. The surge is being read as a clear indication that a significant number of commuters offset from the roads took to the Metro on the opening day of the odd-even run. On December 18, the Friday before Christmas and a working day, the Metro had carried 20.29 lakh passengers. On the first working day Monday, people and officials believe the Metro might run full.
As the odd-even initiative got off ground, vacant trains could be spotted during the morning hours. The crowd picked up in the afternoon. Stations with tourist destinations in the vicinity such as INA and Qutab Minar drew close to their usual passenger load.
Attendants at Metro parking lots turned away those with even-numbered cars.
(With inputs from Sandali Tiwari)