As Delhi Metro resumed operations on Monday after a very long hiatus due to Covid-19, a very small number of commuters chose to avail the facility while mentally juggling concerns over health and urgency to reach work. On day one, mostly office-goers boarded the sanitised train coaches of the rapid transit system.
The trains will operate in batches of four-hour each from 7-11 am in the morning and 4-8 pm in the evening. The Delhi Metro was closed on March 22 to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and after 169 days, it resumed services in a curtailed manner while adhering to strict safety and social distancing norms.
At Rajiv Chowk metro station, the busiest station of the network which serves as an interchange facility between the Yellow Line and the Blue Line, an unusually thin crowd was witnessed.
Earlier, it mostly used to be packed with people jostling for space and vying to enter or exit train coaches. Sumitra Devi (45), a government employee, who works at Connaught Place adjoining the Rajiv Chowk metro station, said ever since the lockdown was lifted, she faced a lot of difficulties commuting to work and had to take buses which were rare to get.
A resident of Maidan Garhi, she said she often had to wait for hours to board a bus due to restrictions over the number of passengers in a vehicle. With metro services resuming, she said she can now save time and reach her workplace faster without any hassles.
Asked how safe her ride was, Devi said it was “definitely different but safe”. “Of course, I was quite sceptical but then if not today, we will have to eventually take metro rides. How long can we avoid it? I hardly saw less than 10 passengers in my compartment but it was smooth,” she added. After being closed for over five months due to the pandemic, Delhi Metro resumed services with curtailed operations on the Yellow Line, even as both the DMRC and the commuters trod with caution amid the new normal in the rapid transport system.
As the day began, some riders wearing protective masks were seen entering the premises of key stations like Kashmere Gate, Central Secretariat, Hauz Khas on the Yellow Line which connects Samyapur Badli in Delhi to HUDA City Centre in Gurgaon. Inside the stations, passengers were allowed entry to the concourse only after checking body temperatures with thermal guns and sanitisation of hands.