A big hit from Day One; by 8 p.m., grossed over Rs.8.7 lakh; registered over 65,000 passengers

Greeted by an excited and impatient crowd, a gleaming new metro train slid out of Anand Vihar metro station in East Delhi early on Thursday morning marking the beginning of commercial operations on the Yamuna Bank-Anand Vihar stretch.

By 8 p.m., the five stations of the corridor -- Anand Vihar, Karkardooma, Preet Vihar, Nirman Vihar, Laxmi Nagar – had grossed over Rs.8.7 lakh from sale of tokens and smart cards and registered over 65,000 passengers.

According to Delhi Metro officials, the first train started from Anand Vihar at 6 a.m. and reached Dwarka Sector 9 at 7-16 a.m. The first train from Dwarka reached Anand Vihar at 7-05 a.m.

“I have been eagerly waiting for the service to start. Everyday I spend around 45 minutes travelling from Patparganj to Rafi Marg and it is a hassle bargaining with auto-drivers, who almost never agree to ply by the meter. The metro rail was a huge relief today, even though it was very crowded,” said Anisha Pillai, who works for a media organisation.

While most commuters were happy with the time they saved by travelling by the metro, the only grouse that they had was the overcrowded coaches. “I boarded the train from Preet Vihar and there was barely any space to stand. It was difficult travelling in a congested coach and the only saving grace was that the duration of the journey was short. I will be regularly taking the metro now and I fervently hope that the DMRC adds extra coaches to the trains. While returning home in the evening during the peak rush hour again there was no space to stand. I let the first train go and boarded the next one that came after about 8-10 minutes,” said Rashmi Sinha, a marketing professional.

Heavy rush

While there was a heavy rush at all stations, Anand Vihar and Laxmi Nagar were the busiest with footfalls of over 13,000 and 11,500 respectively.

Commuters who took the metro in the afternoon, however, had fewer complaints as the coaches were less crowded. “It was a comfortable journey for me from Anand Vihar to Laxmi Nagar in the afternoon. The coach was not crowded and the train arrived in four minutes,” said Naresh Kumar, a lawyer.

“We were anticipating a heavy rush of passengers and the numbers will only rise in the coming days. A lot of people will soon opt for the service when feeder buses on this route start,” said a DMRC official.

Referring to the service on the newly opened line, he said: “All operations went on smoothly without any glitches. During the first few trips cautionary speed was maintained because of the heavy fog in the morning, but train operations were smooth once that got cleared.”

All five stations of the Yamuna Bank-Anand Vihar corridor have been equipped with baggage scanners and metal detectors for security checking of passengers. More than 8 lakh people use the metro everyday and with new lines coming up in the next few months, the ridership is expected to cross 10 lakh a day.

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