New Delhi: In coming days, the ridership in the Delhi Metro is set to increase owing to the Delhi government’s latest pollution control measures.
Although the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation claims that its train continue to run below its capacity, commuters have mostly complained of overcrowding, especially in the busiest lines like Dwarka-Noida/Vaishali and Dilshad garden-Rithala.
From an average ridership of 80,000 per day in 2002 when the Metro was introduced in Delhi, the numbers have drastically risen to 26 lakh per day now. According to officials, in the past five years itself metro’s ridership has increased by a mammoth 156 per cent.
Reacting to the Delhi government’s comment of asking it to increase the frequency of trains, the DMRC said, “We have already reduced the average frequency of trains from 3.35 minutes to 3.10 minutes by pushing 210 extra trips and adding 20 more trains in the network. Things would clearly ease out once Phase III is operational next year as there would be multiple routes to reach a particular destination. We still would do whatever best is possible,” said a senior official.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Gopal Rai told reporters that the public transport system would be strengthened by introducing more buses and frequency of Metro trains to accommodate the rush due to its decision.
Mr. Rai said the DMRC and Delhi Traffic Police will be approached in this regard and a strategy worked out early next week. “I have called a meeting with officials from Transport Department, Public Works Department (PWD), Delhi Traffic Police and environment department on how to execute the government’s decision,” Mr. Rai said.
A senior government official said that transport department does not have sufficient staff to execute the new decision on its own and it will approach Traffic Police for cooperation with the government. Sources in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) said that it is difficult for the public-owned bus authority to include more buses in its fleet.
The public transporter is trying to procure around 2,000 new buses for almost two years but to no avail and must contend with its existing fleet of 4,500 buses.