Press Trust of india

Commuters happy as Delhi Metro back on track, say won’t lower guard

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New Delhi: From general commuters to security personnel, everyone was happy to see Delhi Metro services resume on Monday, even as the DMRC urged people to use the rapid transit system only when necessary.

Services were restored this morning from 6 AM onwards after a gap of nearly three weeks in view of the improved Covid situation in the national capital, albeit with 50 per cent seating capacity and no provision for standing travel for commuters, officials said.

Sameer Khan, 25, who works at a leading private facility in south Delhi, said he was waiting for metro trains to hit the tracks again.

“I work in a hospital so I have to travel every day. In strict lockdown days, I used to take cabs, which is not very safe in view of Covid. Metro, I feel is very safe, and today I took it from Badarpur to Lajpat Nagar station. All safety norms being followed inside coaches and elsewhere,” he said.

Lajpat Nagar station on the Violet Line is a busy intersection facility that is also connected with Pink Line of the metro.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has resumed services with a proviso that passengers will be allowed to travel by seating only on alternate seats with no provision for standing travel till further directions.

Commuters, both male and female, PTI spoke too, said they were taking all precautions and maintaining social distancing to ensure safety of all, and concurred that people should not lower their guards, despite resumption of services.

“Announcements are being made inside coaches that standing is not allowed as of now. Our efforts are to provide the safest way of travelling for commuters. Though cases are going down, we shouldn’t lower our guards,” said a DMRC ground staff stationed at Moolchand station on the Violet Line.

But, it’s not just the riders and staff who were enthused with the resumption of train services, security personnel, both from the Delhi Police and CISF, were equally happy.

While CISF personnel who man the inside premises of metro properties, were geared up with hand gloves and face shield, used gadgets to frisk commuters through contactless means, police personnel kept a watch outside.

“We have been working continuously, lockdown or no lockdown. But till yesterday it was all deserted as stations were closed, but today it felt good to see the station coming back to life with commuters going in and out,” said Raghubir Singh, an assistant sub-inspector of police on duty at Lajpat Nagar station.

He said as per records tabulated on an hourly basis, 30 people had entered the Lajpat Nagar metro station between 8-9 AM while 17 had exited from it in the same period. The corresponding figures for the Pink Line were 17 and 28 respectively.

Between 10-11 AM, 50 people had entered and 53 exited from the same station in south Delhi while on the Pink Line, 17 had entered and 156 commuters had exited from it in that interval, he said.

DMRC services were fully suspended since May 20 in view of the Covid-induced lockdown in Delhi. It was first imposed on April 19, and successively extended by the city government.

Metro services initially ran partially, catering only to people from the field of essential services, but from May 10, it was suspended in view of the rising cases amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

But not everyone had a happy story to share. For Mumbai-based Anil Kumar, a make-up artist in film industry, it was perhaps his last metro trip in Delhi, as he on way to book a railway train ticket to Mumbai.

“Make-up artists like us have been badly hit by Covid and the lockdown it induced later, last year and this year too. Since January, I was staying with a relative in south Delhi, but now they have indicated that they want me out of their home. In the coronavirus pandemic, strangers have helped, but in many cases our own people have deserted,” he lamented as he exited the station.

Kumar, a native of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, said, “I am not so much afraid of Covid anymore as much as of dying of hunger. I need to look for work now, so going to Bombay. Staying with my relatives is an agonising experience now”.

Rickshaw-pullers and autorickshaw drivers were also relieved that now they would get some passengers as the metro services have resumed.

DMRC sanitation staff, Vikram Chauhan, 26, who was seen cleaning the escalator in the morning, said, “It is good to see people back in metro”.

“I have worked in lockdown too and for us, special services uses to run morning and evening in a day. But, to see passengers return makes us also feel that things are slowly returning to normal,” he said.

Chauhan, who has three little daughters, the third one barely six months, hails from Bhagalpur district in Bihar, and his family is currently staying there.

“They are safe as of now. But yes, I fear for their safety as much I fear for mine in Delhi. I live in a metro, they live in a village, but the coronavirus has spread deeper this time. Thankfully, I got myself tested and report came negative,” he said.

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