Metro completes one year of glorious run

NEW DELHI DEC. 24. There were no firecrackers or large-scale celebrations as the Delhi Metro completed one year of operations today. In fact the only noticeable event during the day was the launch of the special weekly conducted tours for the handicapped and senior citizens. But even this was a chance happening and not connected in any way to the year-long operations.

But during the course of the year, the Delhi Metro has done so many milestones that it really does not need to go to town with its achievements. Having matured with each passing day, the Delhi Metro is gradually becoming what it was perceived to be - the lifeline of Delhi.

Attracting over 10 lakh people on its first day of operations for the general public on Christmas last year, the Delhi Metro has withstood several tests and come out each time with flying colours. In fact, it faced its first test on Day 1 of operations when mishandling led to a collapse of the automatic ticketing system and led to several technical problems with as people manually obstructed the electronic doors of the carriages and fiddled with the emergency buttons.

But barring that first day, when no one expected such a surge of crowds on the 8.3 km Shahdara-Tis Hazari section, the operations have proceeded smoothly. The Delhi Metro also tided over the problem of electrical frequency which disrupted its operations in January and barring one more incident in which a bird hit caused a train to stop in the tracks, the operations have been very punctual.

In fact, from February onwards, the Metro has been achieving 100 per cent accuracy in the running of trains - that is not even a minute's delay in a trip - with great regularity. And with the Automatic Train Protection signalling system coming into effect from October, when Line I from Shahdara was extended from Tis Hazari to Tri Nagar, 4.5 km away, the operations of the Metro have become very safe. The increase also led to addition of four new stations taking the total to 10 and saw a sizeable increase in the number of passengers from around 30,000 per day to 80,000 per day. The revenue also increased correspondingly to an average of Rs. 5,10,000 per day from fare. And with another Rs. 1.25 lakhs being earned through property development, the Delhi Metro is now meeting its operational cost of around Rs. 6 lakh per day.

With the Metro also getting the clearance to increase its maximum speed from 50 km per hour to 80 kmph, travel by the air-conditioned coaches has become all the more fast and now the 12.8 km distance is covered in just 19 minutes. Also, the frequency of the trains has come down to eight minutes during peak hours from the earlier 10 minutes.

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