In a meeting with officials from the state Transport department and the National Capital Regional Planning Board (NCRPB) over Tuesday and Wednesday, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) presented an alternative alignment for the Rapid Rail Transit System (RRTS) corridors within Delhi, proposing integration of the Airport Express Line with the corridors planned between Delhi and Panipat, as well as Alwar and Meerut, sources said.
According to the sources, it was proposed that the Delhi-Alwar corridor — which was initially planned till Kashmere Gate via Iffco Chowk, Mahipalpur, Dhaula Kuan, Nizamuddin and New Delhi — be curtailed at Iffco Chowk itself, while the Delhi-Panipat corridor — which was initially planned till Kashmere Gate — be extended to Nizamuddin via New Delhi, thus effectively getting rid of the line between Nizamuddin and Iffco Chowk.
In such a situation, the Airport Line, sources said, was likely to be extended to IFFCO Chowk, becoming the link between the Alwar and Panipat corridors. The Delhi-Meerut corridor, meanwhile, is planned till Nizamuddin via Anand Vihar. The Delhi government was supposed to give its final view on the alignment of the corridors within Delhi last August, according to sources. The DMRC was then asked to undertake the study and present its report, considering a possible integration of the Airport Metro with the RRTS network. No decision has so far been taken on the proposed alignment.
Although Delhi Metro officials refused to comment on the matter citing the enforcement of the model code of conduct, sources said the DMRC was optimistic about an increase in ridership on the Airport Line, should the proposed alignment be finalised, eventually transforming the line into a profit-making entity.
The Airport Line last month averaged a daily ridership of around 13,000 commuters, which according to DMRC officials, was the highest since the line reopened in February last year. The losses per month — which at the time DMRC took over last July were approximately Rs 5 crore — have also come down to around
Rs 2 crore per month.