Thirty-five-year-old Vikrant Kapoor started early on Wednesday morning from Ludhiana to catch a flight in the evening from New Delhi as he was worried about getting stuck in the maddening traffic jam in the capital on his way to the airport.
But as he arrived in Delhi by a train at 12.30 p.m., Kapoor got the news that the Airport Express Line will begin operations from 2 p.m. He rushed straight to the New Delhi Airport Metro Station to reach the IGI Airport early.
He is not the only one who was elated as the Airport Express Metro began its operations this afternoon. People stood at the platform of the New Delhi station for over 10 minutes to catch the train after getting an Rs. 80 ticket, expecting to reach IGI Airport in 20 minutes.
And they were not disappointed. They reached 2 minutes before the promised time without a technical glitch. The reason is the train will initially skip two stations in between because of lack of completion of work.
There were not many commuters on the first six-coach train that began its journey from New Delhi station at 2 p.m. sharp, though the second train at 2.19 PM had several commuters, media personnel and joy riders.
Kapoor said he was surprised and quite happy that he does not have to worry anymore about getting stuck in the traffic jams in Delhi.
A frequent flier to Chennai, where he has a business, Kapoor said: “I am quite surprised and elated. I came to know about the line only after I landed in Delhi. So, immediately I took the train though my flight is only at 7.15.”
Ankit Gupta had a different reason to catch the train.
The 28-year-old executive, who works with Novartis, said he wanted to save money as well as experience a swift travel to the Airport.
“Every time, I start three-four hours early to catch a flight. Fortunately, my flight is at 5.15 PM today. If it was in the morning, I would have missed this comfortable ride,” he said.
“Rs 80 is very cheap. So, from next time, whenever I come to Delhi, I will use the Airport Metro,” he said as he shared his excitement with his friend over phone.
By this time, the train reached the Dhaula Kuan station in 10 minutes and passengers were glued to the LCD monitor which displayed information about the next station.
As the train crossed the Delhi Aero City station and a pre-recorded voice announced that the Airport Station had arrived, people started checking their baggage and deboarded the train with a smile.
As the train stopped at the Airport Station, there was a sudden flurry of activity at the station as people got down from the train and started proceeding towards the new swanky terminal.
Prasad, an executive with a leading consultant company who started three hours before his flight to get a ride on the Metro, said he could not stop looking at the way the stations were built.
“It just looks like an airport. I can’t believe that we have such a world-class Metro in our country. The country is growing like anything,” he said as he approached the departure area of the Terminal-3 from where he was to take a flight to Bangalore.
“It is an unforgettable journey,” he said.
Passengers can go to both arrival and departure areas of the airport without much problem as there are many lifts and escalators.
Another passenger, Raghuraman said he would use the line only when he travels within the country and he would start using the corridor for international travel once the check-in facilities begin.
“I am a frequent flier. So, it makes sense for me to use the line for international travel once the check-in facility starts,” he said.
On the way back from the Airport, many foreigners could be seen using the line to come to the city’s shopping hub of Connaught Place.