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Delhi Metro opens to lukewarm response

Very few passengers were seen on trains

The Delhi Metro opened to a lukewarm response from commuters on Monday, more than five months after it was shut due to COVID-19-induced lockdown.

The HUDA City Centre Metro station in Gurugram, one of the busiest with a footfall of around 1.5 lakh daily prior to lockdown, saw Metro staff and media persons outnumbering the commuters. The trains at the stations barely had 10-20 passengers each.

The parking lot of the station also wore a deserted look with just a dozen cars and bikes parked in the open. The underground parking was almost empty.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has resumed services on its Yellow Line (from Samaypur Badli to HUDA City Centre) and Gurugram’s Rapid metro for a limited hours in the morning and evening. The entire network will be opened up in a staggered manner till September 12.

Many of the commuters expressed happiness over the resumption of the service and seemed satisfied with the safety measures in place.

Delhi resident Pooja Soni, art consultant, said: “Initially I was apprehensive and had thought that temperature checks and all will not be done properly. But then I saw that everything is being followed quite strictly. So as long as one doesn’t step into crowded Metro, it should be fine.”

But a few were not convinced and still scared to take public transport. “With the cases on the rise, it is not the right time to open Metro service. I am taking Metro today because my motorcycle broke down. I am not going to travel by bus or Metro till the time the corona lasts,” said Hemant, 31, an IT engineer. He was travelling to Delhi from IFFCO Chowk Metro Station in Gurugram.

Since the DMRC made use of Metro cards mandatory and cash transactions are not allowed, many commuters had to return disappointed. “I work at a cloth shop in Old Delhi and was going for work for the first time after lockdown opened since the Metro is now running. But I am only carrying cash and was refused the Metro card. I don’t use debit/credit cards or online wallets,” said Satya Narain, 65.

Motiur Rahman, travelling from the Hauz Khas station to Gurugram, said, “Even though the number of cases are increasing, ultimately we need to take care of ourselves. Additionally, with the state of the economy, it was imperative that the Metro services resume so that some revenue can be generated.”

Under the first stage of resumption, services will be available from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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