Millennium Post

How the capital travels...

A city is always known for its rich history and culture. Culture includes work, etiquettes, maintenance of infrastructure, sanitation and cleanliness. All these convey a favourable impression to visitors, visiting the city.

The historical and modern city of Delhi is also being talked about on these very parameters. On introspection, one may think that the change that has taken place, during the last 10 years, is because of the Delhi Metro, that  started in 2002. The period witnessed a gradual change not only in the work culture but also in the lifestyle of its people. Connecting almost every corner of the city, it seems like no less than a European model. Not only this the pillar numbers on the routes of the metro have become landmarks of famous departmental stores, restaurants and meeting points of lovers. The metro ride has become an essential entry in the itinerary of the tourists.

In other words, one may state that the Delhi metro has become a source of pride for the nation. Neighbours envy as more and more cities close to the national capital have been demanding commissioning of the metro services which are known for safety, reliability, punctuality, comfort and passenger satisfaction. Noone had ever thought of such a luxurious mode of transportin Delhi, it has since become a reality.

After the launch of metro service in Delhi, the city government introduced the air conditioned low floor buses. Both these modes have now become the first choice for travellers. The days are not far when people will get to travel in air conditioned autos! Delhi Metro’s model is being replicated by the city government in its renovated Inter State Bus Terminals (ISBT) at Kashmere Gate and by GMR group in construction of the T3 terminal at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The announcements that are made in the metro network are also being adopted by various corporate buses plying on the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) routes in Delhi. The concept has fully eliminated the ticket-less travel and inspired the DTC to introduce closed door buses. This has also put an end to the practice of travelling while standing or hanging outside the buses. I still remember the quantum of ticketless travel in the old city buses, decades ago, when more than 60 per cent passengers used to avoid buying tickets. People used to deboard by putting 10-15 paise coins as dakshina (bribe) in the conductor’s bag.

Because of its excellent construction model, the DMRC has been able to get contracts for construction of underground High Court parking and the Institute of the Liver and Biliary Sciences.
The DMRC has been able to successfully complete work, much before deadlines! To state an example, the DMRC commissioned two major lines just before the commencement of the Commonwealth games in 2010.

The Delhi metro also gives a 10 per cent rebate for customers using smart cards apart from giving people the comfort of not standing in the serpentine lines to buy the tickets. It also provides the facility to recharge online. The modus operandi of the construction was taken well by people. The way the barricading was done by the DMRC is being adopted by the other agencies like PWD, MCD and DJB.

The DMRC gave priority to the safety of workers. The way the trucks used to lift the malaba and mud was appreciated by the city at large as the signs of the mud and garbage were never visible anywhere. It exhibited the best of its expertise in shifting the lines of the public utilities without any disruption and inconvenience.

Also minimum inconvenience was felt by the citizens despite large parts being dug out. The traffic diversions were handled meticulously. The daily number of vehicles off-road is likely to go up to two lakh in next few years, resulting in pollution and congestion on the roads. It is time to make a study of the financial management of the DMRC that has succeeded in achieving the best economic rate of return to recover its full cost in its first four years.

It is expected that 70 per cent of Delhi would be catered by the metro services by the end of 2015. Almost all colonies would be catered by two stations and one route would be made available on the ring road to provide services to large number of people. The metro is going to link all major historical places, markets and universities. The day is not far when people visiting Delhi, from all across the world, will aspire to travel in one of the finest metros of the country.
The author is a communication consultant

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