Kolkata Metro to add nine more escalators

KOLKATA: Commuters of Metro have a reason to smile. The Metro Railway will install nine more escalators in different stations and five of these will be in place before the Pujas.

Keeping in mind the additional rush that the authorities will have to handle during the festive season, it has decided to enhance amenities for commuters. Security will also be taken care of with the help of additional high-resolution cameras, a Metro official said.

“Metro presently has 68 escalators at its stations. We have plans to add nine more. Five of these will be in place before the Pujas. Mahatma Gandhi Road, Shyambazar and Sovabazar Sutanuti will get one each while two will be installed at Maidan. We are also in the process of introducing more drinking water facilities at all stations,” said Protyush Ghosh, Deputy General Manager (G), Metro Railway.

In order to enhance security, 602 additional high-resolution digital cameras with night vision capabilities, are being introduced at stations. These are in addition to the existing analogue cameras that are being converted into the digital format.

Metro Railway has witnessed a significant jump in the number of commuters in the last four months. Between April and July, 2013, nearly 6.64 crore commuters used the Metro as compared to 5.94 crore in the same period last year, a jump of 11.86%. Ghosh said if need arises, more ticket counters will be opened at various stations depending on the demand.

“This jump in the number of commuters has led to the need for better amenities. We expect the numbers to increase in the days to come. Metro general manager Radhey Shyam has taken initiative to provide better amenities to commuters. There used to be a heavy rush at the counters at Dum Dum station as this is where the interface exists with Eastern Railway. In the mornings, tens of thousands of people get of local trains at Dum Dum Jn and rush for the Metro. In the evenings, it is the other way around. Earlier, there used to be 16 counters open at Dum Dum. We are now keeping 18 counters open to ease the rush. If the need arises, we shall increase the number of counters at other stations, depending on the demand,” said Protyush Ghosh, deputy general manager (G), Metro Railway.

The Metro Railway is also keen to improve the quality of signage in the stations. New bright signage has been introduced at the Noapara and Maidan stations. This will be extended to five more stations. These are Jatin Das Park, Masterda Surya Sen, Belgachia, Rabindra Sadan and Sovabazar Sutanuti. These stations will look much brighter before the Pujas and will resemble any major international airport, another official said.

Though there is no indication that the Ministry of Railways will go in for a fare hike just now, Metro officials are happy with the revenue collected in the last four months. Between April and July this year, passenger earnings went up to Rs 34.60 crore as compared to Rs 30.60 crore in the previous year. There has also been a 65.50% increase in revenue from commercial publicity.