The Delhi Airport Metro Express line (DAMEL) opened its Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aerocity stations for the public on Independence Day on Monday. The line offered free tickets to freedom fighters and defence personnel on the inaugural day.
The inauguration was a low- key affair with only Reliance Infrastructure officials present at the two stations. According to DAMEL officials, the response to the line at the two stations was “fairly good” within the first three hours of opening of the stations. Higher footfall is expected from Tuesday. No ridership figures were available until Monday evening.
The stations at Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aerocity were given security clearance after inspection by Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety on Friday last week.
With the opening of the stations, the line became fully operational with six operational stations.
Several airport bound passengers chose the high speed metro link to travel to the airport from the Dhaula Kuan station on Monday. Several defence personnel availed the offer to travel free on the line at the Dhaula Kuan station, said Reliance Infrastructure officials.
The opening of the two stations is likely to increase ridership on the line considerably from the present figure of around 10,000 commuters daily.
The Dhaula Kuan station will cater to Army personnel and South Delhi college students, while Delhi Aerocity will be accessible for commuters from Vasant Kunj, Vasant Vihar and passengers of the airport's Terminal 1.
While most people welcomed the opening of the stations, some doubt remained over using the high speed metro for daily commuting. “I thought it was great that a metro station had finally opened in Dhaula Kuan.
But in order to go to my house in Gurgaon from Dhaula Kuan, I will have to go to New Delhi metro station and then board the train to Gurgaon from there. It is more economical to use a bus,” said Ranjit Singh, who had come to meet his brother in Subroto Park.
Jawaharlal Nehru University student Seema Kaushik said: “Though I am happy that the Dhaula Kuan station has finally opened, it is not of much use for people like me, because to reach most destinations in South Delhi, I will have to first go to the New Delhi metro station. This means spending more time and money everyday, even with concessional fares.”
The Airport Express metro is presently offering discounted fares on its line.
The line is likely to be inaugurated formally later this week.
Reliance Infrastructure had recently increased the train frequency at its stations to 15 minutes in the morning peak hours, instead of the earlier 20 minutes.
The operational hours of the service are also likely to be increased to 20 hours from the present 18 hours everyday.