Its network has grown over the years and ridership fallen in the recent months — but punctuality has remained a constant in the Delhi Metro. According to data obtained through an RTI application, over 99% train trips have been recorded on time between 2013 and 2018, till May. Consider this: In 2013, of 18,72,486 trips undertaken by Metro trains, 975 were delayed, which translates to an average operational punctuality of 99.94%.
Over the years, with the growth in network length, more trains were pressed into service, resulting in a rise in the number of trips. However, going by the figures, that did not have any negative impact on punctuality. Of over 18.59 lakh trips undertaken by trains in 2014, about 1,213 saw delays. The corresponding percentage comes to 99.93.
According to a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official, a trip is considered to be delayed if a train takes 60 seconds more than the scheduled time in completing it. In 2015, of the 19.41 lakh trips, 1,115 were delayed while in 2016, 1,326 of 21.01 lakh trips were late. In terms of percentage, the average punctuality was 99.94% in 2015 and 99.93% in 2017.
The year 2017 recorded 20,88,582 trips, and 1,405 delays, with the punctuality average at 99.93 per cent. In 2018, till May, 99.86 per cent trips were completed on time, as per the RTI data.
“There is round-the-clock working of dedicated Operations & Maintenance officials/staff deployed across all the stations and depots to ensure the most reliable and punctual services throughout the year,” said DMRC executive director Anuj Dayal.
With the recent launch of an eight-km-long section of Pink Line, the total Metro network in Delhi-NCR now spans around 296 km, which is served by 214 stations. Apart from delays, DMRC also records trips that are cancelled. This year, till May, 377 trips have been cancelled.
In 2013, 709 trips were cancelled. The number fell to 536 in 2014, which more than doubled to 1,084 in 2015. There were 692 delayed trips in 2016, which rose to 783 in 2017.
The frequency of trains on Metro’s prominent corridors, including the Blue Line and Yellow Line, hover around 2 minutes, 40 seconds on an average. On Red Line, the frequency is 3 minutes, 6 seconds. The figures include train trips on Gurgaon’s Rapid Metro Line and the premium Airport Express Line.
Compared to Metro systems globally, strictly in terms of punctuality, Delhi Metro ranks among the best. It is in the same league as the London Underground, also known as the Tube, and the Tokyo subway — both of which clock above 90% on schedule operations.
The New York subway, on the other hand, fares very poorly in this regard, with an average of 58% trains arriving on time, mostly due to freezing weather-related breakdowns.
According to the Transport for London, one can claim a refund if a Tube train is delayed for 15 minutes or more. DMRC has no such policy though.