Some renowned business schools around the globe have recommended Delhi Metro project to their grads for case study. It evidently follows from the immense success of the DMRC despite all odds, which has not only sufficiently met the travel needs of the city after the completion of Phase 1 and Phase 2 for an estimated US$ 2.88 billion but also conquered new heights and has become a model metro for the rest of the Indian metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.
The profit charts must certainly be looking good but it isn’t helping the daily commuters (mainly those making work trips) in plotting their Necessity vs. Comfort graph. Being a daily commuter myself on the Blue line connecting Dwarka and Noida, what follows is from my personal experience. While aesthetically and technologically, Delhi Metro may score more over some of the world’s prominent metro rail systems but it’s the ever-growing population of Delhi that makes it for a blotch on its clean image. If you want to give your child a crash course in ‘World is cruel’, take him or her for a ride in Delhi Metro during peak hours.
The use of new technology has to be given the credit. It makes use of muscular energy rather than electrical energy and is more ‘people-driven’ in nature. The technology ‘happens’ when you dare to stand near the doors of Metro train in peak hours (9-11 am and 6-8 pm) whether outside or inside, at any of the busy interchange stations like Rajiv Chowk or Kashmere Gate. Whether you want to board or de-board the train, it hardly matters as your moving direction will be automatically determined by the intensity of force applied in either direction by the huge wave of people gushing towards you. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be moving in the desired direction but you might discover getting a sprained neck or ankle as a side-effect.
Next comes the ‘human touch’ of the Metro. You’ll occasionally get to smell the ‘human winds’, or ‘human sweat’ while inside the train whether sitting or standing. Someone might also blow free Carbon dioxide at your face or neck so you can feel the ‘human warmth’. In extreme cases, if you’re not used to it, you might also get unconscious due to lack of much needed fresh air.
The situation is worsened if a train is running delayed. With the jam-packed coach, you might not be able to get in or out at all at your desired station, especially just one or two stations before or after a busy interchange station, unless you’re Hulk or know Martial arts.
The daily commuters are very well aware of the fact that during peak hours Delhi Metro is no better than the Mumbai local due to its severe overcrowding. Although most of the 4-coach trains have now been replaced by 6-coach trains due to a steep increase in passengers numbers which has brought a little respite to the commuters of Delhi but still DMRC happens to run some 4-coach trains instead of 6-coach during the busiest hours for an unknown reason. Let’s hope the situation gets better very soon.
To conclude, if you’re a new to Indian transport and want to go for a ride in Delhi Metro, I would sincerely, seriously and courteously advise you to abstain from traveling in Delhi Metro in peak hours unless absolutely necessary.