Delhi Metro says its hands are full, can’t do more
New Delhi: Come January and commuters will have to steel themselves against more rush in the Delhi Metro. Even as the Delhi government, while announcing the odd-even formula for cars, had maintained that it would ask the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to increase frequency of trains, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Delhi government has asked Delhi Metro to scale up operations to ensure that commuters don’t have to suffer in the 15 days when the odd-even car use formula will be put into practice.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation hasn’t finalised an action plan yet, but sources say that Metro is already running to its full capacity, and new coaches that could have taken some load off aren’t expected before mid-2016. Officials of the DMRC told that supply of new coaches for the busiest lines is going to commence only from December 2016, whereas, the number-formula for cars in the Capital is set to kick in from January 1 itself.
This implies that people will have to rather wait for opening of the Phase-III project in mid-next year, as it promises to cater the issue of overcrowding by offering multiple metro routes to commuters.
“We have already ordered a total of 258 coaches for four corridors and its supply will begin with effect from December 2016 and the delivery will be completed by early 2018. These coaches are being procured specifically to cater to the requirements of the Rithala – Dilshad Garden (Red Line), Samaypur Badli – HUDA City Centre (Yellow Line) and the Dwarka Sector 21 – NOIDA City Centre/ Vaishali (Blue Line) corridors,” said a metro official. Out of the 258 coaches, 162 coaches will be assembled at Bombardier’s facility in Savli in Gujarat and 96 will be procured from BEML’s plant in Bengaluru, she added.
“Meetings are being held and nothing has been frozen so far. In 2015, we increased frequency oftrains in non-peak hours, taking total trips up to 2,900 per day-a leap by 176 trips. Peak hours are from 8am to 11am and 5pm to 8pm. The frequency in peak hours is about 2.09 minutes and off-peak frequency is 2.48 minutes,” said a source.
Besides, the DMRC also maintained that in 2015, 176 train trips per day have been increased in the city. In total, the Delhi metro operates 216 trains which make 2900 trips a day.
Also, since the orders have already been placed for upgrading the metro fleet in the existing corridors, any fresh announcements on the same seems quite unlikely.
According to sources, keeping these aspects in mind, the Delhi government is now mulling to urge DMRC for tweaking working hours of the metro.
Under the augmentation plan, the DMRC is going to procure 17 new eight-coach trains as well as convert 61 more six coach trains into eight coach formations to provide better services to the commuters on the busy Red, Yellow and Blue lines of the metro network.
“For line 5 (Inderlok-Mundka) and line 6 (ITO-Escorts Mujesar), the process of expansion of fleet is in progress. Line 5 currently has 18 trains (17 four coaches and one six coaches). By mid next year, there will be 22 four coach trains and one six coach train. On Line 6, in total there will be 44 six coach trains. Currently, there are 36 trains operational,” the official said.
For its four major routes-the Red, Yellow and Blue lines-Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will be procuring 17 new eight-coach trains and it will also upgrade 61 six-coach trains to eight-coach ones in order to ease congestion on the busy routes.
“In total, 258 new coaches have been ordered and the supply will be from December 2016 to 2018.
For the other two corridors, expansion plans are in place. The Green line from Inderlok to Mundka has 18 trains-17 four-coach ones and one six-coach train. By the middle of next year, there will be 22 four-coach trains and one six-coach train. The Violet line from Central Secretariat to Faridabad has 36 trains. By mid-2016, it will be increased to 44 six-coach trains,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.
The government has also suggested that Metro increase its hours of operation, especially at night. Metro officials have said that this won’t help as the odd-even rule would result in increase in peak-hour ridership.
“Someone who has to travel from home to work or the other way round will be travelling during peak hours. S/he will not wait till 10pm or later to return home. Only an increase in frequency will help but the frequency is already high,” said a source.