What is wrong with the Metro?

What is wrong with the Metro?

Delhi Metro – the word spells confidence. Confidence that when you reach your nearest Metro station, you will get a train within four to five minutes maximum; confidence that the train will drop you at your destination in definite time, that it will not move too slowly and definitely not breakdown mid-air or half-way through a tunnel!

Unfortunately, that confidence seems to be ‘breaking down.’ Delhi Metro is disturbed by ‘technical snags’ and delays too often to go unnoticed these days.

Even if one discounts regional power failures and suicide attempts, major hold-ups due to technical problems are counting up to at least one every month (see box).

Almost all of these have occurred on the two busiest routes – the Dwarka-Noida-Vaishali (Blue) and Jehangirpuri-HUDA City Centre (Yellow) lines – and involved a time lag of half-an-hour to an hour at least – enough reason for commuters to ask: What is wrong with the Metro?

Piyushi Kharge, who takes the Metro from Janakpuri to New Ashok Nagar says, “Only last month (June 11), I missed an important meeting due to the problem in the Jehangirpuri line. Last week (July 18), I was going to meet a client in Noida and got terribly late again. In fact, this time, even the lights went off and there was no announcement as to how long we would be stuck.”

Suraj Panjiar, another daily commuter says, “I think it has something to do with Metro’s expansion. I remember there was a time when the journey from Delhi University-Central Secretariat used to be smooth. Since the time the line was expanded on both sides, the snags have increased. I think the Metro is facing difficulty in handling the mammoth network and the rising footfall.”

For obvious reasons, Delhi Metro spokesperson Anuj Dayal denies it completely. “The snags have nothing to do with our expansion. DMRC is fully capable of handling all the lines. As for the technical problems, they are a part and parcel of any train network. Within the Metro, there are 300 subsystems. One or other may go faulty once in a while and lead to a snag.”

“More so, when someone falls ill or doors have to be opened again and again due to interruptions in even one train it leads to bunching of all the trains on that route. After all, it’s a train network. One train cannot ride over another to reach on time.”
Anuj also points out that unlike buses, when a person is caught up in the Metro, he cannot just jump off and take an auto or start walking. As a result, even a delay of five minutes becomes stressful for commuters. However, can all the blame be rested on passengers or natural conditions, especially at a time when the Metro is planning its phase III – networks to shorten the commute between each line.

A Metro official shared, “We are taking steps to make sure that the problematic factors we face right now are eliminated in the future routes. For example, in phase III we will not have track circuits – yellow plates which indicate the location of a train. Instead, we will have a more advanced communication system. That will eliminate the track circuit problems we have been encountering
of late.”

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