In a city that is infamous for road rage and five fatal accidents a day, the Metro is seen by some as a lifesaver, literally.
Even as there is a raging debate on the high cost of Metro construction of around Rs100 crore per km, number of passengers on the Delhi Metro has increased after every new link that has been added to the circuit. During rush hours, there is a Metro train every 4 minutes.
The Metro, which operates between 6am and 11pm every day and celebrates its fifth anniversary this week, carries around 600,000 passengers a day, up from about 30,000 back in 2003. This compares with buses in Delhi, which carry around eight million passengers every day, according to a Centre for Science and Environment study.
But, more than statistics, the Metro has had a transforming impact on not just the commute of many Delhi citizens, but also on real estate values, for example. Mint takes a visual look at how the Metro has impacted the Capital and how it could similarly transform life elsewhere in the country.
Mind that line
The Metro has brought some change in the manner in which people behave in some public spaces. Commuters stick to the yellow line as they wait for trains. Metro chief E. Sreedharan says there is room for improvement in the manner in which people clamber on to the trains but is optimistic that self-regulation will work over a period of time.
Real estate values
The Metro is, in part, responsible for soaring land and buildings prices with several new projects coming up in the vicinity of almost every Metro station. New malls in Gurgaon and Noida are betting on big traffic surges once the Metro extends to both the suburbs and DLF Ltd has also considered investing in its own rail link from the developer’s properties to a nearby Metro.
The Metro has proved to be a saviour of sorts for hundreds of rickshaw operators in the city. On an average, every Metro station in the city seems to help at least around 20 rickshaw operators earn their living by ferrying Metro passengers, who aren’t on the feeder bus routes, to and from the stations to their homes.
Studies conducted by the Central Road Research Institute have shown that the Metro has reduced at least 40,000 cars from being used for daily commute. The study also estimates the Metro possibly saved around 476 lives, which otherwise would have been lost due to road accidents. It estimates the Metro helped save Rs288 crore in road maintenance and traffic management costs.
Mangolpuri in north–west Delhi may not have enough water or power connections but its natives can at least take an air-conditioned train to commute. Though, one major complaint against the Metro has been its high average fares, compared to buses, making it not so appealing to the poor.
5. On an average, every station helps about 20 rickshaw operators earn their living by ferrying Metro passengers.
Photographs by: Ramesh Pathania/Mint