New Delhi: Ms. Mehak Makhija, a business analyst, getting into even the ladies’ coach of the Delhi metro is like a battle. “It hardly makes any difference. Women also elbow you if you board the special coach during peak time,” she said, hoping if only her office timings were shifted to non-peak hours.
Like Ms Makhija, thousands of others have felt the push and have squealed at their foot being stepped by others. Despite the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) multiple attempts to ease the crowd, little seems to have changed. Even after two stations – Mandi House and Kirti Nagar – being introduced as interchange point on the Dwarka Sector 21-Noida/Vaishali line, the Rajiv Chowk station continues to be the most used throughout the metro network.
As per latest data, the average daily footfall of this station is almost 4.52 lakh which is followed by Kashmere Gate interchange station with 3.24 lakh people using it. “The Rajiv Chowk station gives people seamless access to Central Delhi and major commercial hub, Connaught Place, at the same time also serves as an inter-change for boarding the Jahangirpuri-Huda City Centre line. So the rush is expected. To decongest this station we have opened the viewer’s gallery now,” said a DMRC official.
The biggest fear for Prabhu Sachdev, an IT professional, is when speaker in the train creaks “there will be a short delay in this service”. “That moment is a nightmare. I was trapped in the train once when the overhead wire had snapped. I missed my office that day. We were walking on the tracks to reach the station,” he said.
With every year, DMRC witnesses an average increase of at least 16 per cent of ridership. In fact, over the past six months, the Metro network has seen a significant increase in ridership. From around 23 lakh in late 2014, it has averaged out to over 24 lakh in the first half of 2015.
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“On some days, the ridership even touches the 27-lakh mark. Opening Phase III with 18 new inter-change stations will be the real game-changer in the mass transit network,” said the official.
Last month, the corporation had increased the frequency of trains on weekdays during off peak hours (from 11 am to 4:30 pm) by inducting 20 more trains into service. Yet, the rush still remains.