Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The start of disillusionment with Delhi Metro

I just returned from Delhi. In my last trip, I was amazed at the ease with which I could visit my relations using the Delhi Metro and at my age. It was particularly impressive to see young people get up without being prompted and offer me a seat - seeing my grey hair - for the seats reserved for old folks. Only once did I need ask(I was tired and the journey was long) but the guy pretended not to listen. Sadly, the person sitting next to him gave me the seat and it did not seem appropriate for me to insist that the impolite guy get up.

I did notice crowding at times. However, on this trip, at 12NOON on a Sunday, I found the train packed like the Mumbai local. I just could not have gotten down at, say, Rajiv Gandhi station. A youngster just ignored the senior citizen standing close to him. It is very difficult to be polite if there is no standing room :(

The congestion seemed significantly worse just after a few months.

Given the goodwill of all Delhi citizens for the Metro, I can't think even a single person would object to an additional charge on petrol and diesel to compensate the Metro for making the citizens' journey more comfortable.

I was surprised that the train frequency is not being increased. On many routes not all trains are 8 coaches. Why not make them even longer? Why do we need to have people packed like sardines? Is maximising the money from public transport so important a consideration?

My disillusionment grew by this news today about a scandal in the order for Metro trains.
At an internal meeting, Naidu was of the view that the contract be cancelled immediately, but sources said that Secretary Shankar Aggarwal explained to him that cancelling the tender would delay the project by at least two years, which would reflect poorly on the government.
These are coaches for the 3rd phase! If an improvement in frequency is desired for existing phases, we should expect a minimum gap of two years after a decision is taken.

Meanwhile, I ended my journey by taking an auto to go to the station. It was 4PM, office traffic would have started and I just could not take the risk.

I have never liked Delhi. Our old area reminds me of a prison with gates and fences on public roads.

I am even less inclined to visit it even as a tourist in the future. I will let the money in my smart card lapse.

 I will probably not praise and brag about the advantages of Delhi Metro to any one any more - and I feel extremely sad about that. 

No comments:

Post a Comment