Peaceful, cheaper, faster, reliable — these were some of the adjectives used by commuters travelling on the first day of resumption of Delhi Metro services. While only the Yellow Line functioned on Monday, the train network will open up in a phased manner until September 12. Just 15,500 people took the Delhi Metro on its resumption day.
Commuting long distances and paying high cab fares had burdened many daily travellers these past few months. On Monday, office-goers and daily-wage earners finally had the cheaper travel option. TOI also bumped into students going to Delhi University’s North Campus and others who found the gap between Gurugram and many parts of Delhi suddenly bridged to their relief.
Shivanand, 21, a software engineer residing at IFFCO Chowk in Gurugram and working at Krishi Bhawan was one of the relieved people. “I was spending Rs 800 on travel every day. Today, one-way, it cost me just Rs 45,” he said.
For many others, the time saved was a bonus. Dr Mohammad Shafi Azam (37) took the train to his work at Bara Hindu Rao Hospital. He travelled the Hauz Khas-Kashmere Gate section and then took a 10-minute autorickshaw ride. “I decided to give it a shot and hoped that the train would not be crowded in the morning hours. I saved a lot of time,” he said brightly.
The passengers, unsure initially of how the crowd control would be enforced, were pleasantly surprised to see the thin crowd. “I had read about the various restrictions and how each coach would have a limited number of seats. I can now see that with fewer people, it is easy for everyone to observe social distancing,” said Yogesh Gujjar, a 25-year-old student going to GTB Nagar.
For 27-year-old Dhriti, the Delhi Metro ride had never been so comfortable. “I was confused about whether I should travel by the metro because I know how crowded it can be, especially on Mondays. Now I won’t think twice about taking the train,” the private company consultant said. “Of course, the moment the coaches start getting crowded, my parents will ask me to start taking a costly taxi instead.”
Seema, however, wasn’t aware that not all the metro services had resumed. Having ridden to Huda City Centre to pick up her daughter from a relative’s house in Gurugram, the Usmanpur factory worker hadn’t reckoned that she would need to make other travel arrangements because the Blue Line corridor to her home in Janakpuri was still closed on Monday. “Had I known that all lines weren’t open, I would have waited a few more days,” said Seema. Mukesh Kumar, too, had a similar grouse. “I live near Badarpur, so I will have to get down at AIIMS before taking a bus home,” said Kumar, who works at Udyog Bhawan.