New Delhi: Commuters of the Delhi Metro had a harrowing time on Wednesday as lakhs of people took advantage of the holiday for Gurpurab to visit the India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan.
So much is the rush for trade fair that the Pragati Maidan metro station alone has witnessed a 433 per cent increase in average ridership.
Major stations on the busy Blue Line (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida/Vaishali) were packed and in some the crowd even spilled outside the station premises which also led to slowing down of several trains.
To cater to the extra rush on Wednesday, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation pressed 17 extra trains to service on the 50-kilometre long Blue Line alone.
“The 17 extra trains are performing around 100 extra train trips in comparison to an off day (Sunday) time table,” said a DMRc official. Ridership on the metro network on last Sunday (November 22) till 8 pm was 17.11 Lakh, but on Wednesday, due to Gurupurab, it climbed up to 19.01 Lakh.
The total sale of tickets from all metro stations on November 25 was over 1.13 lakh and from Pragati Maidan station itself 35,945 tickets were sold. Even at the IITF counters, scores of visitors expressed their disappointment as the counters too ran out of tickets after selling about two lakh of them.
The corporation also denied of any technical snags on the line and said that the slow movement of the trains was for “crowd management”. “There was no failure throughout the day, but train movement was regulated at Pragati Maidan due to large inflow of trade fair visitors. Trains from the Yamuna Bank and Mandi House end had to be put on hold till the crowd was cleared from the platform and concourse of Pragati Maidan station,” the officials said. This was done to accommodate the next rush of passengers from coming trains which led to the delay, she added.
Impatient commuters vented their frustration on the authorities, wondering why they could not at least make announcements stating the reason for the delay.
“A 20 minutes journey from Mayur Vihar to Mandi House took me around an hour. Trains were halting for around 7-10 minutes in each station till Pragati Maidan,” a commuter said.