Flaws that Delhi Metro needs to fix

Flaws that Delhi Metro needs to fix

Reality check

Delhi Metro is said to be this city’s lifeline and the most preferred mode of commute. It radically changed the capital’s mass transportation scenario and also the way we travelled. No doubt the swanky, air conditioned Delhi Metro gets a definite thumbs-up from all, but there are a substantial number of commuters who seem to be little upset with it. Metrolife talked to a wide section of daily travellers who pointed a few loopholes which the management needs to plug.

If you have ever travelled in a Metro, you might have come across the sticker flashing the 24x7 Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) helpline number. This unfortunately remains non-functional at the best of times. Dial the number and a sweet female voice at the other end will tell you “You seem to have dialled a wrong number!”

When Metrolife talked to a DMRC official about it, he seemed ignorant about the issue and assured that he “will look into the matter”.

 “We have got no complaints regarding the helpline number ever since it was incepted. We have to find out if any such problem is prevailing. We will look after the matter and sort it out,” Himangshu Sarma, DMRC PRO tells Metrolife.

Another issue that bothers the commuters are the long queues at the ticket counters and the security check points.

Seventy per cent of Metro commuters use smart cards that helps save them time and avoid the serpentine queues for token. However, the remaining 30 per cent (six lakh commuters) buy tokens daily. Although the automatic token vending machine have been set up at most of the Metro stations, it has not helped reduce the long queues.

“I don’t travel often by Metro. But sometimes when I need to, I have to buy token at the Dwarka Mor Metro station, as it is the nearest station to my place. But the station has just one ATV machine which mostly remains out of service. And out of the number of ticket counters, only one of them is functional. These result in long queues at the ticket counters that overlaps with those standing to get through the automated fare collection (AFC) machine, thereby creating a ruckus,” says Sartaj Kumar, a resident of Dwarka Sector 1.

But DMRC claims that the counters are opened as per the requirement at a particular station and no such problem prevails.

“Most of the people use smart cards now and almost all the stations have ATV machine set up. So the need for ticket counters have shrunk. And if required, we open the ticket counters. Everything is under control,” says DMRC spokesperson Sarma.

The non-functional HHMD (Hand-Held Metal Detector) check points at some metro stations, during peak hours especially, seem to be adding to the commuters’ inconvenience. In spite of CISF’s claim to have cut down the frisking and scanning time by almost half, keeping the upper time limit to clear long queues at five minutes at most-crowded stations, there are commuters who complain about the inconvenience they
face every day.

“I come from Meerut to Delhi every day for my classes. It is a long distance to travel on a daily basis. After travelling to Shahdara via the local train, I board the Metro from Shahdara Metro station. There are many other commuters who take the same route. But boarding the Metro at this station gives everyone a tough time. Each gate of the station has only one check point through which people can move towards the Metro station. The result: long queues of people spilling out of the station and standing out in the scorching heat,” says Pradeep Kumar, a postgraduate student.

Similar is the scenario at Central Secretariat (C Sec) Metro station from where Kumar boards the train for his journey back home.

“As a number of government offices are there at C Sec, the number of Metro commuters is also very large. This results in heavy rush during the peak hours. Gate no. 2 of the station has two security check points but only one is functional even during peak timings which means the queue extending out of the station premises,” Kumar adds.

The CISF justifies the scenario but are open to feedbacks with assurances to fix the problem if they get complaints.“We are always prepared to handle the rush at the peak hours. We open the other points for frisking if the crowd increases. Sometimes, it happens that the station gets crowded during odd hours. But we always try to overcome the situation. And if the commuters are facing any inconvenience, they can give us their feedback and we will try to mend it at the soonest,” says a CISF official.

Another issue which Ankita Singh points out, being a regular commuter of the Violet Line, is the male passengers boarding the female compartments after 8 pm.

“Because I work overtime some days, I take the Metro at late hours. Often, I find the male passengers boarding the ladies compartment. And when someone asks them to leave the coach, they seem to ignore the request. Until the CISF intervenes, no one can make these rogue passengers leave the ladies coach,” says the 24-year-old PR professional.

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