Delhi Metro gears up to meet festival rush

19.Nov. 2006.
NEW DELHI: To cater to extra rush of passengers using the Delhi Metro on Bhai Dooj that falls on Tuesday and Id-ul-Fitr on Friday, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will operate its trains at peak frequency from 8 a.m. to 8-30 p.m. on these two days. 

During this extended peak period, trains will be available every four minutes on the Shahdara-Rithala Line 1 and the Central Secretariat-Vishwa Vidyalaya Line 2 and every five minutes on the Barakhamba Road-Dwarka Sector-9 Line 3. 

While normally trains operate at this frequency from 8 a.m. to 12-30 p.m. and then again from 4-30 p.m. to 8-30 p.m., on these festival days the duration of the peak period is being extended to help people commute across the city with consummate ease. As such during the non-peak hours on these two days the headway between trains -- which on normal days goes up to 6 to 10 minutes -- will remain at the peak levels. 

Overall, the Metro services will be available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. as usual. As a result of the increase in frequency, 1,190 train trips will be run on Tuesday and Wednesday, an addition of 85 train trips. 

The Delhi Metro will also open extra ticket counters and deploy additional staff at important stations on these days. 

Last year on Bhai Dooj, the number of passengers had increased by 46 per cent over normal days and on Id-ul-Fitr by 37 per cent. 

With a whopping 1.5 lakh footfalls, the first weekend of India International Trade Fair (IITF) received a jumbo response on Saturday. The Metro ridership on the new IP Estate line also touched a new high of almost 96,000. 

The fair, which has till now seen serene crowd, was bustling with hoards of people. Predictably, the exhibitors and eatery outlets had a field day. ITPO officials and Delhi Police worked in full force to keep things under control and avoid any untoward circumstances. "As it's the first Saturday since the fair began, we had anticipated a huge rush but everything went smoothly." said an ITPO official. 

With more pouring into the sea of people as the day progressed, struggle for space in halls, restaurants, eating outlets and pavilions became apparent. And shopping was another battle altogether. Visitors fought for the tiniest of space available at the stalls where they could examine and purchase the exotic goods brought in by the representatives of visiting countries. 

At hall number 12, which housed displays from several countries like Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan, Poland, Nepal and Afghanisthan, some visitors chose to turn back from gates considering the packed situation. And those who still made it in complained about how they had to fight for every inch. "People were coming in from all directions. It was maddening inside. Just stopping at one of the stalls was next to impossible," said Kaveri Sharma, a DU student who was at the fair with her family. 

Anticipating this rush on the weekend, DMRC had taken all the steps to handle the crowd. Two extra trains had been deployed on the new line. Also, the ticketing counters at Pragati Maidan station were doubled, taking the total counters to 24. 

According to the Metro officials, for the first time on this line, the frequency of trains were reduced to below five minutes. "We had been anticipating this rush on the first weekend of Trade Fair. To meet the demand, we had taken all the necessary steps. We are expecting an even bigger crowd on Sunday," said Anuj Dayal, chief public relations officer, DMRC. 

Traffic outside the fair was minus its usual snarls. The Metro came as a bliss for the traffic flow at the fair. "I knew it's going to be very crowded on Saturday, so I parked my car at the Metro station and preferred to board the train. It's so much easier and hassle-free this way," said Amit Gupta, a resident of Vivek Vihar in east Delhi. 

And like every year, there were complaints of eve-teasing too. A visitor Nitika Khanna complained that too many people took advantage of the huge rush in the crowds and misbehaved with female visitors. "It's almost a like a grab-what-you-can contest inside these crowded stalls. And because there are so many people in the pavilions, you can't even identify who tries to misbehave." 



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