Two Metro trains, packed with around 5,600 commuters, came to an abrupt halt on the Yellow Line near Chhattarpur station Tuesday morning, with authorities taking over an hour to open the emergency door to let people out. Services on the entire corridor went haywire as a result, and as commuters poured on to the roads, traffic took a hit too.
Chaos was witnessed on major arterial roads connecting Delhi to Gurgaon, as harried commuters, mostly office-goers, started looking for alternative means of transport. It took four hours to restore full services on the 48.8-km line that runs between North Delhi’s Samaypur Badli and Gurgaon’s Huda City Centre, carrying around 8 lakh people daily.
While the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) ran feeder buses along the affected stretch — Qutub Minar to Sultanpur — for commuters, even Delhi Police pressed a few trucks and buses into action to ease the rush, which led to a traffic build-up, choking busy stretches including the Mehrauli-Badarpur road.
“Train services on Line-2 (Yellow) between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur section were affected today from 9.27 am to 1.28 pm due to breakdown of overhead wire, reported by a train as it approached Sultanpur Metro station (from Chhattarpur), leading to tripping of power supply in this section,” a DMRC statement said.
As complaints poured in from stranded commuters, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he has directed Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot to seek a detailed report and direct DMRC to “fix responsibility”. Gahlot wrote to DMRC MD Mangu Singh flagging a “delay” in evacuating passengers from the two trains that got stuck. He questioned the fact that it took 1 hour 25 minutes to evacuate one train, and 1 hour 42 minutes to vacate the other one.
“Special assistance was provided to 11 commuters (differently abled/not feeling well),” the Metro statement said. While one train went immobile between Qutub Minar and Chhattarpur, the other stopped between Chhattarpur and Sultanpur. The first one was evacuated at 11.10 am and passengers were taken to Qutub Minar, while the second one was emptied at 11.27 am and commuters walked on the tracks to Chhattarpur.
“… Deboarding takes time as it requires use of emergency gate and ensuring no passenger is at risk, which included women, senior citizens and some divyang (differently abled) passengers, who were facilitated with wheelchairs,” DMRC said. As a stopgap measure, DMRC introduced short-loop services between Samaypur Badli and Qutub Minar at a frequency of around two minutes, and between Sultanpur and HUDA City Centre at a frequency of around six minutes. There were no services between Qutub Minar and Sultanpur stations between 9.30 am and 11.30 am.