Passengers on the Delhi Metro on Sunday said they hoped the easing of capacity and standing travel caps on the public transit service will ease crowds outside stations, which have been a perennial pain point for commuters since services resumed in September last year.
Santosh Kumar, a passenger travelling on the Delhi Metro’s Blue Line (between Dwarka Sector 21 and Noida Electronic City/Vaishali) on Sunday said it was “senseless” for authorities to impose restrictions on the Metro when the entire city is functioning normally, with few curbs in place.
“Look at the markets, the streets. The entire city is functioning normally. So, is the Metro the only place where Covid-19 can spread? While the trains were fairly empty, the wait to enter stations and trains was very long. I hope this will ease now,” said Kumar.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Saturday allowed an additional 30 standing passengers in each Metro coach, along with 100% seating capacity, as a measure to boost the use of public transport in light of the hazardous air pollution levels in the Capital. The Authority also allowed buses to operate with standing passengers for the first time since restrictions were put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.
In buses run by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and under the cluster scheme, standing passengers will be allowed at up to 50% of the total seating capacity of each bus.
Preety Rajnish (28), said she has to wait at least 20-25 minutes just to enter Rajiv Chowk Metro station while on her way back from her office in Connaught Place.
“The more I get delayed due to the Metro, the longer it takes for me to get home. It’s winter and gets dark faster. It would be nice if more passengers can be allowed in the train because it’ll be safer for women like me to reach home on time,” Rajnish said.
She added that several passengers stood in the Metro even before the rules were eased, so the decision could have come earlier to save passengers the long waits.
HT reached out to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for a comment on how this relaxation will help operations, but the agency refused to respond.
However, a senior DMRC official, who asked not to be named, said, “The Metro is designed as a mass transit mode, which means it is meant to carry more standing passengers than seated passengers. These restrictions, which have continued for over a year, have impacted revenue. But we hope more relaxations will be allowed in due course. We are already taking all safety precautions inside stations and in trains.”