The Delhi Metro reinforces my faith in public transport and humanity- Feb 01, 2012

As I made my way back home at peak office hours in the crowded Delhi Metro the other day, packed like a sardine among other women sardines (yes, I was in the women’s compartment where being a sardine is less smelly and far more acceptable), I was struck for the thousandth time by how much life had changed in the city since the Metro arrived.

Just for the record, the Delhi Metro had a ridership of 459.5 million passenger rides per year in 2010-2011 as per Wikipedia, and is 24th most ridden mass rapid transit system in the world!

To me, like it must have for many others, the Delhi Metro’s extension to Gurgaon gave back to me the pleasure of using public transport. I no longer feel constantly guilty about adding hogging road space or about spending the equivalent of a poor family’s weekly expenses on a single day’s fuel! Even more valuable is the sense of freedom and a sense of better connection with the urban environment I live in.

I agree, the Delhi Metro is unaffordable to the poorest sections of society, but is still quite diverse in the type of people it ferries around. On the yellow line that I take, I see many college kids, pre-occupied with texting on their mobile phones and yapping nineteen to the dozen! I see office goers galore, looking purposeful, reading, listening to music and snoozing if they are lucky enough to have a seat. I see workmen carrying tools around, runner boys checking their watches every few moments and sometimes lying to their bosses about where they’ve reached (oh, the joys of mobile telephony!); the elderly returning from a visit to a long-lost friend and kitty party returnees looking pleased as punch! Children, wide-eyed and bouncing on mothers’ laps, thoroughly enjoy the Metro too.

The Metro ride helps me retain a sense of normalcy. I feel like I’m like everyone else. In a strange sense, there is also a sense of camaraderie in riding the Metro together. Exchanged glances, smiles and even an occasional conversation with a stranger can reinforce a general faith in humanity that we seem to be losing as our lives get busier, more technology-driven, more protected. The Metro is my ticket to reality and on most days it gives me no cause to complain at all! The autos when I get off at Gurgaon’s HUDA City center…now they are a whole new story 🙂


About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on February 1, 2012, in Urban Planning & Policy and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Very interesting to read your posts. Keep them coming!

  2. The last mile connectivity, or Integrating Transport Systems,that is a big issue we have not addressed in all our Metro systems.
    Priya when she was representing Railways in all her meetings with Chennai Metro(being built at a cost of Rs.16000 crores)and State Govt,kept raising this point.We have a MRTS system built by Railways in Chennai,very efficient,good coverage but not Integrated into the Bus system,hence connectivity ,patronage in Corridors like our famed IT Corridor is poor.
    Delhi Metro answer has been run their own Bus Service.

    • The last mile connectivity hasn’t been very successful in Delhi/NCR either, hence my last comment on the auto ride from metro to home! most people rely on autos and that pushed the Metro further away from the low income group, who cannot afford the last mile to be done in an auto! A pity…

  3. Some of your posts echo my thoughts! I try and travel as much by public transport as possible, helps me stay grounded in reality. Somehow. In Bombay it’s actually possible to travel by bus as well, on some routes. And people are mostly so pleasant or at least well behaved, that it’s a pleasure.

  4. The thing here is that the Cities have to develop a uniform, all encompassing transportation policy, that includes everything from the Metro to sidewalks. We already have a great resource for short trips…rickshaws. All we need to do (at least in the NCT) is to design, plan and manage them the way we do other public transit. I have been an ardent Metro users every time I visit Delhi. I sit on a rickshaw outside my parent’s apartment gates, get off at the station and go. it can’t be any easier. The Metro should negotiate with cities to provide legitimacy and space for cycle rickshaws to operate within a 1 -2 km radius of every Metro or BRT station.

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