With all its 10 corridors operational, Delhi Metro’s 288 trains made more than 3,700 trips in nearly 18 hours of service on Saturday (12th September 2020). The resumption of services with the old timings, though with certain Covid-19 precautions in place, allowed more than 1.5 lakh people to travel by the Mass Rapid Transit System.
The high-speed Airport Express Line was the last corridor to reopen, but more importantly, the service timings reverted to the pre-lockdown schedule of 6am to 11pm and the frequency of trains was also increased. Before the suspension of services in March, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation operated fewer train between 11am and 4pm, considered ‘off peak’ hours.
However, now, because of the strict social distancing norms reducing Delhi Metro’s carrying capacity, the peak hours have been done away with, and train are available at optimum frequency between 8am and 8pm. Till 7.30pm on Saturday, the ridership figure was 1,52,845, a rise of 18.5% against the 1,28,886 recorded in the same period on Friday.
The Airport Express Line, which reopened on Saturday, carried 2,268 passengers. Like in the last couple of days, it was the older corridors of the Delhi Metro network that logged the most passengers. The busiest, Blue Line (DwarkaVaishali/Noida Electronic City), ferried 47,023 people, followed by Yellow Line (Samaypur Badli-HUDA City Centre) with ridership figure of 44,949 and the oldest, the Red Line (Rithala-Shaheed Sthal) at third place with 19,904 riders.
The three corridors cumulatively accounted for 73.1% of Saturday’s ridership despite constituting just 42.5% of the Delhi Metro network. “Now that services have resumed on all the corridors, DMRC will make public only the Line utilisation figures as was done before the lockdown because these figures only reflect the actual utilisation of a metro train system which is spread 400 km with 28 interchange stations providing comprehensive connectivity to the Delhi-NCR people,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC.
While Saturday was a weekend and still saw 1.5 lakh passengers, Monday is going to be the real challenge for DMRC as its ability to handle increased footfalls through longer service hours will be put to test.
“For your and everyone’s safety and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, wearing of face masks and adherence to social distancing norms throughout the travel has to be ensured by all commuters,” Dayal reiterated.
As part of its special drive to make people aware about the importance of wearing face masks or cover throughout the journey in the metro including inside the trains, “DMRC on Saturday counselled around 200 passengers for not wearing face masks properly. In addition, 114 passengers were fined Rs 200 each for violation of social distancing norms or for not wearing a mask inside the train,” Dayal said.
On Friday, DMRC had counselled 150 passengers for not wearing face masks properly and penalised 92 commuters for not wearing a mask or not maintaining social distancing. DMRC has also advised commuters to allow extra time of 15-30 minutes as thermal screening, hand sanitisation at entry points of stations and trains halting for a few extra seconds to ensure people board and de-board smoothly in adherence to social distancing norms will result in increased travel time.