Modern amenities and inclusive infrastructure await commuters all set to hop on the high-speed train, RapidX, which will begin services on a 17-km stretch of the Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) after its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.
The train will stop at five stations painted in turquoise and beige — Sahibabad, Ghaziabad, Guldhar, Duhai, and Duhai Depot — on the stretch, which is part of the 82-km Delhi-Meerut corridor that is expected to be fully operational by 2025.
The Hindu took a ride on RapidX ahead of its maiden journey and witnessed the train, which boasts an average speed of 100 km/hr, zoom past cars on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway.
The train has five standard coaches, with one reserved for women, and a premium coach. While a ticket for a seat in the standard coach costs ₹20, passengers have to shell out double that amount to enjoy a ride in the premium coach. End-to-end travel in a standard coach will cost a total of ₹50 and ₹100 in the premium coach. Travel is free for children whose height is below 90 cm.
Commuters can enter the stations from gates located on the service lanes of the expressway. Parking space is available for those using personal vehicles to reach the stations. Multiple entry/exit points have been provided on either side of the road at every station. A foot overbridge has been constructed for those who wish to cross the road to take a train ride or reach the bus terminal.
QR code-based paper tickets can be purchased from ticket counters or ticket vending machines (TVMs) installed at the stations using currency notes, bank cards, or unified payments interface (UPI).
The TVMs can also be used to recharge National Common Mobility Cards (NCMC). The RRTS will allow commuters to use any NCMC card from the first day of operations.
Commuters can also travel by purchasing a QR code-based digital ticket using the RAPIDX Connect mobile application.
Each station has two floors. All commuters have to enter through the automatic fare collection (AFC) gates on the ground floor, which will deduct the fare amount from their tickets depending on their destination. They will then have to use lifts, escalators or staircases to reach the platform on the second floor.
Passengers travelling on the premium coach will have to pass through additional AFC gates on the boarding platform, which will deduct an additional amount from the ticket for using the luxury compartment. These passengers will also gain access to the premium lounge, which is furnished with foam, velvet seats, and has vending machines that offer chips, chocolates, fried peanuts, and fruit juices.
While all coaches have large windows, seats with velvet finish, the premium coach has reclining seats, extra legroom, and adjustable sun shields.
The platforms are equipped with public address systems that will announce the arrival of upcoming trains, route maps of the multiple stops, and a detailed action plan to evacuate commuters during emergencies.
Every station has platform screen doors (PSDs) integrated with the train doors and signalling system. The train will leave the station only after the main doors and the PSDs are firmly closed. All doors have first-of-its-kind manual locks that passengers can unlock to open the doors at a station in case they fail to open automatically.
Each compartment has two rows of seats on either side of a spacious aisle, where passengers can stand and travel. Safety handles have been provided above and below the seats to ensure passenger safety. Multiple CCTVs are installed in every coach with field officers at the respective stations reviewing the footage and passing on information to the local units during emergencies.
All stations have diaper changing stations, separate restrooms for women, and first aid kits. For medical emergencies, ambulance services can be availed through centralised accident and trauma services.
The last coach has additional space for stretchers and wheelchairs and a ramp to enter and alight from the train.
Women are expected to comprise 50% of the staff at all stations. Preference will be given to residents of the neighbouring areas during recruitment to ensure employment of locals.