Gurgaon/New Delhi, June 21 (IANS) The Metro rail service on the 14.47 km Gurgaon-New Delhi route started Monday morning, ending the long wait of commuters for an effective transport system connecting this satellite town with the national capital.
The first Metro trains began running simultaneously from the HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon and the Qutub Minar in south Delhi at 8 a.m. The line will be extended in a month to Central Secretariat and Jehangirpuri in north Delhi.
‘We have been craving for good public transport for long. There have been several announcements of starting a bus service and construction of the Metro was also going on simultaneously. The inauguration came as a respite and we are hopeful that the line will be connected to other lines of DMRC soon,’ said Sukanya, a resident of Heritage city of Gurgaon.
Staff of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and some passengers were seen on the first few trains but the crowds started gathering by 11 a.m.
As of now, the entire 14.47 km section is not ready and trains will not initially stop at the Chhattarpur station, which is likely to be opened to the public only by August.
‘The construction work on the station was delayed as the land for building the station was made available only in October last year,’ said a DMRC spokesperson.
The trains will run at a frequency of 12 minutes on this corridor from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
‘Five trains have been pressed into service initially and their number will be increased gradually. On June 11, the corridor had received the statutory safety clearance from the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) after he inspected the entire stretch,’ the spokesperson added.
The 10 stations on this elevated section are HUDA City Centre, IFFCO Chowk, MG Road, Sikanderpur, Guru Dronacharya, Arjangarh, Ghitorni, Sultanpur, Chhattarpur and Qutub Minar.
Despite being the first day of the week, the new Metro line attracted comparatively lesser number of passengers than expected. Metro officials, however, said that more crowds are expected once the complete line becomes operational.
DMRC officials told IANS that the total footfall at the new Metro link till Monday afternoon was around 12,000 and sale of tokens and smart cards crossed over Rs.1 lakh.
‘The new Metro stretch till 2 p.m. saw a nominal crowd. This line will attract more commuters only when it is extended next month to Central Secretariat and Jehangirpuri,’ an official told IANS.
‘By 2011 we expect a footfall of 1.6 lakh every day,’ the official added.
Meanwhile, the Gurgaon administration has planned to run connecting buses on six different routes within the city for Metro passengers, officials said.
‘Both AC and non-AC buses will ply on these routes,’ Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria said.
Some routes of the buses have been finalized but the routes and number of buses can be increased depending on the number of passengers.
The minimum fare for the Metro route is Rs.8 and the maximum is Rs.30. With this line coming into service, the Delhi Metro will cover a total stretch of 125 km with 107 stations.
Once it gets connected with the Central Secretariat-Jehangirpuri line in north Delhi by July, the Metro will have greater connectivity. The entire stretch of 45 km will connect north Delhi (Jahangirpuri), south Delhi (Green Park, Saket, AIIMS, Hauz Khas) and Gurgaon (HUDA City Centre).
In November last year Delhi Metro started its services to the satellite town of Noida in Uttar Pradesh.
Delhi Metro makes over 1,900 trips on its five lines and covers a distance of 111 km excluding the new metro corridor.
By the October Commonwealth Games, the Metro network is expected to reach nearly all areas of the capital as well as suburbs like Gurgaon, covering nearly 190 km.
About one million commuters use the Metro on weekdays. During the Games, about two million commuters are expected to use the Metro on weekdays.