About a month back, I was in Delhi to start the Youth For Seva Delhi Chapter and I got to use the famed Delhi Metro service. I used it extensively for the 4 days I was there and made some observations which I thought I should share with others.
I have used metro services in Europe and USA, and I was always fascinated by their punctuality, maintenance and of course the civic sense of the passengers. I always wondered if such a service can ever enter India. Unlike the homogeneity we see in the west, we deal with a much bigger and diverse population base. Designing a metro service for India would need to consider the different economic backgrounds of the passengers, diverse language backgrounds, cultural issues, security issues etc. I was pleased to see that the Metro service was carefully designed keeping all this in mind.
Trains operate at a frequency of 3 to 4.5 minutes between 6:00 and 23:00. Trains operating within the network typically travel at speeds below 80 km/h, and stop about 20 seconds at each station. Automated station announcements are recorded in Hindi and English. Many stations have services such as ATMs, food outlets, cafés and convenience stores. Eating, drinking, smoking, and chewing of gum are prohibited in the entire system. The first coach of every train is reserved for women. About 5,200 CCTV cameras have been installed, which cover every nook and corner of each Metro station.
Tickets are very reasonably priced. A single journey costs between Rs 8 to Rs 30 depending on the travel distance.
The Delhi Metro has won awards for environmentally friendly practices becoming the second metro in the world, after the New York City Subway, to be ISO 14001 certified for environmentally friendly construction.
What makes the Delhi Metro Unique?
Delhi Metro recorded the highest ever ridership figure of 2,066,925 on 20 August 2011. The diversity of the 2 million passengers is anybody’s guess. The apathy towards public infrastructure in India is well known. How does Delhi Metro cater to such diverse clientele and yet maintain the highest standards? There is one key point which I think the master E Sreedharan has achieved in his design of the Delhi Metro: The public feel they own the Metro. They are proud about it. They feel, it is their property not the Government’s. It has been made an integral part of their life. Just like you would not litter your house nor scratch its walls, and respect the inmates, the same behavior is replicated in the Delhi Metro Service. Apna Metro!
I am sure the lessons learned from the Delhi metro can be replicated in other services provided by the Government. By the people, of the people, for the people!
POSTED BY SHOBHIT MATHUR