Monday, April 24, 2006

A Metro Joyride

Ever since I had shifted to Delhi, I wanted to experience the Delhi Metro, the newest jewel in Delhi’s crown. A high tech system with high tech trains, it has changed the way one travels in Delhi. This is one project where probably everything is being achieved before target date of completion. Quite an achievement in India where bureacracy, politicians and corruption works overtime to ensure that nothing is finished on time. Last Saturday, I could finally find some time to have a metro ride. It was a small ride from Barakahmba to Karol Bagh spanning over 4 stations. We bought tickets, rather tokens for the ride that costs us Rs.9/- per head. We were given individual tokens which are roughly the same size as that of a carom board dice. These high tech dices have chips inside that hold your journey details like initiating and destination station and time of issue. Currently these tokens are of imported variety and there is talk about introducing desi tokens. The token ticket is the first visible difference with that of Kolkata Metro, the only other metro in India as of now. In Kolkata Metro you actually buy paper tickets. If you are buying tickets for 3, then you are issued one paper ticket that allows entry for 3 through the gate. At the gate, you need to insert the ticket at the designated slot and get it collected at the other end. In the high-tech Delhi Metro, you need to touch the small card size panel with your token for the gate to open. This means everyone should carry his token himself.

We waited at the Barakhamba for a train to arrive. This is the originating station for the Barakhamba – Dwarka line. The train arrived almost full as most passengers got into the train at the previous station, i.e., CP station, in order to manage a seat. There is probably no check on how you travel to your destination. All you need to ensure is that you embark and disembark at stations as per your token and complete the journey within a specified duration of time. Therefore, despite starting our journey at the originating station, we had to travel standing.

Shortly after leaving the CP station, the train moved out of the underground tunnel and got onto the elevated track. Beyond this point, the metro runs on elevated tracks. The only totally underground section of Delhi metro is the line from Vishwavidyalaya (North Campus of DU) – Central Secretariat. We disembarked at Karol Bagh. To get out, the token is to be inserted at the slots at the gate. Do not hurry; wait for the message in the panel to turn ‘Insert your token’. Else you may leave stranded. Kolkata Metro is a vintage system, but is still the best for the crowd you get to travel with. Not so in Delhi. You will get a few of the lampoon elements who have become synonymous with the word Dilliwala in the metro as well.

The no. of passengers was quite good even though it was a weekend day. This was a good indication of how much it has changed the lives of many Delhites. What a welcome relief the metro has been for many regular travelers who hitherto had to travel by those notorious city buses. The CNG and the metro have reduced the pollution level significantly. People were seen traveling with small luggage. This means people are using metro for traveling to and from the New Delhi station and ISBT. One can change lines for New Delhi railway station and the Kashmere Gate ISBT at the CP station. The metro station at New Delhi station is on the Ajmeri Gate side and is within the railway station itself. Similarly, the metro station at Kashmere Gate ISBT is on the side opposite to the ring road. Small luggage is not a problem though you will be frisked and luggage thoroughly checked at the entry gates. But it is still better then get cheated by the cunning autowalahs.

2 comments:

Subhajit Sengupta said...

Hi,
I like your blog very much ,it'snice & easy -going to read ur blog ,so always wait for new updates .
Btw, my MAMABARI(maternal uncle's house) is in Assam, Dhekiajuli , you must be knowing it .
It's nice to see someone from my mother's place .
Take care
Subhajit

Sudipta Sengupta said...

I reached your Blog by chance. I liked your enthusiasm about Delhi Metro but cant really help but point out that the truth about DMRC is not much enjoyable.
Delhi Metro which seems to be a the latest pride of the capital, do any of you know how feasible the idea is? All over the world the Metro, especially in elevated corridors is considered as a primitive technology...and here we are a nation in dire need for money in all possible field is spending 400 billion on an outdated idea!!! Had the metro been developed 20 years back, it wud have been logical but in present context it just seems to be a deceptive way of showing infrastructural development.
It is a totally unfeasible project which supports a miniscule amount of people in daily transport. After the Metro started working, thousands of DTC buses have been pulled out from service. Now, all those who curse the 'bad crowd' and 'killer' Blue Line in Delhi's cheapest public transport should know that the goverment never really did anything to do away with those problems. Investing in new buses, staffs could have solved the issue. But no!! instead here comes the Metro and we all are dancing about it. Two years in a row the Metro has made loss. But no newspaper is making it a headline because of goverment pressure. Everything will remain 'hush-hush' till the Commonwealth Games. After that when it will be time for new trains and maintainence DMRC will cry out that it do not have funds.
If you still are not convinced read my article in merinews. It will give you the exact figures of the issue. Here is the link: http://www.merinews.com/newsPortal/JSP/catFull.jsp?articleID=173&catID=8&category=Business.

Hope to see your comments if you read the article.