In the two months since Delhi Metro resumed operations across all its lines, the number of passengers has seen a sharp jump — according to data shared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the average daily line utilisation went up from 6,19,242 in September to 12,24,848 in October.
Line utilisation indicates how many times passengers have travelled on a particular line or portion of a line during their overall journey on the Metro system.
Despite the increase in footfall, measures to keep Covid at bay remain firmly in place.
A DMRC spokesperson said, “Even though the crowd is increasing gradually, measures such as sanitisation, thermal checks, and cashless transactions are in place. Operators ensure there are no more than 50 passengers getting on to one coach.”
Previously, each train would carry 250-300 people. “People have been very conscious since the Metro restarted operations. They might have to wait in line for their train. This is why we have been asking them to keep half an hour in hand so they do not get late,” said the spokesperson.
Rajiv Chowk, which continues to be one of the most crowded stations in the city, witnessed peak-hour rush on Saturday evening. Since only one gate is open to passengers, long queues were seen outside the station.
Aman Ranjan (32), who was traveling from Connaught Place to Tughlakabad, considered taking an auto or a cab when he saw the lines outside. “This happens every day. Sometimes, it takes half an hour for the line to clear. Today, it seems quicker,” he said.
Some stepped out of the lines and opted for other modes of transport, while other passengers were heard complaining: “Yaha social distance kaise rakha jayega?’’ Another commuter said the wait was a better option as the line cleared in 12 minutes.
Inside the station, passengers headed to the sanitisation points without being prompted. Similarly, those who waited on the platform stood in line and tried not to bump into each other.
The DMRC spokesperson said, “Passengers are careful even inside trains as fines are imposed if anyone sits on seats that have the ‘do not sit here’ sticker. The trains are sanitised once they reach the terminal station.”
Anandam Nair (54), a government employee who travels from Mayur Vihar to Shadipur for work, said she feels safe traveling via the Metro as all precautions are taken: “I sanitised my hands and bags at the entrance. The Metro is definitely one of the safest ways to travel at the moment.”
She said she travels by bus sometimes but still prefers the Metro: “Yet, at peak hour, social distancing is harder as everyone wants to get to work or home.”
An operator in charge of crowds confirmed this, “We ask people to wait in line so that no coach exceeds its capacity. But sometimes, during peak hour, it becomes difficult to do so.”
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