When things are planned and executed in right ways, there are high chances to succeed and give birth to an inspiring story. On my recent trip to the capital city of country Delhi, one thing that has impressed me most is to witness the progress of Metro services. Delhi Metro is a wonderful initiative and gives good lessons to other states how to manage the network efficiently. We can’t assume the life in Delhi without metro services and life there will not be less than a hell without it. In Delhi, traffic congestion is immense and it is not so easy to travel in its scorching heat. Its buses are slow, hot and crowded. We should keep in mind that Delhi too has a suburban railway which is not popular among commuters and hence is a total failure for a public transport system.
Delhi metro has been the savior for its commuters and the concerned agencies. It has seen a consistent increase in ridership since its commencement of operations in 2002. If people switch from private vehicles to mass transport, it is considered a huge success for public authorities as well as environmental conservationists. The boost in ridership can be attributed to high quality of services and accessibility due to network expansion. Delhi metro has shortened distances significantly and hence save time and energy for its commuters.
Metro in Delhi runs both above the ground and under the ground and the technology use by Delhi Metro is at its best which makes it possible to produce a brilliant delivery of the services. The ultra-modern, air-conditioned trains, contactless tokens in place of paper tickets of buses, escalators at stations, clean platforms, and convenient passenger information system is rendering a huge relief to daily commuters. We can find routes being recognized by Delhi Metro as red line, blue line and it helps one to know routes to travel conveniently. The information and communication system by Delhi Metro is also exemplary. There is proper electronic display and it always helps commuters by providing accurate information.
I remember my teachers justifying the concept of school uniform. Uniform means uniformity means all are equal and there is no concept of rich and poor. Metro services are also availed by both rich and poor equally using same services. No one asks for a seat in metro if it is occupied and proper seat marking is for women and old age travelers. If people are feeling unwell, they can ask people to get up and people vacate seats if one has a genuine reason. There is an additional separate berth for women and one can land in trouble if wrongly land in there. Delhi metro is a perfect example of cleanliness and hardly any one dares to make it dirty. You can’t also dare to make nuisance in metro. Moreover, smoking, eating and drinking is not permitted in metro and penalties are levied for any violations. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation recently had collected fines worth nearly Rs 90 lakh from travellers between June 2017 to May 2018 for a host of offences including sitting on the floor of trains, littering, creating a nuisance etc.
It is harder to board and de-board in normal trains, but the Delhi metro system self motivates its commuters mostly to behave properly and stand in a queue. There are also continuous announcements regarding safety of women and cleanliness and that is a great initiative. Contactless smart cards and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tokens are used by Delhi Metro for fare collection. The discounts are offered on availing the smart card facility and save time and costs both for corporation and the travelers. The Delhi temperature soars in summer and not only trains but the metro stations too have proper AC facility and gives relief to the people.
Delhi Metro has also turned into a unique experience. And there is a lot we can learn if we commute by the metro frequently. We learn life isn’t fair always. One might be just about to make it into the metro when the doors close. We learn to accept rejection. With fierce competition, we might not always get a seat. We need not to panic, just go with the flow especially while de-boarding the metro. At times, we may have to go against the tide when we are the only few travelers trying to de-board while 20 others are trying to enter the metro. Again sacrificing can be rewarding as offering our seat to someone who needs it most will make us proud of our self. There are many life lessons and still we thought all that the Delhi Metro could do was ferry people around.
The Delhi Metro, indeed, offers lessons for other Indian cities. The pollution levels in Delhi have been significantly reduced by Metro services. Once you experience metro you can assess how many cars and other transport will run on Delhi roads without metro and the damage it can cause further to its congested environment. Delhi metro scores high points on cleanliness too. A study by Boston Consultancy Group recently revealed, that more than 2,30,000 vehicles could afford to go off Delhi’s roads, between 2002 and 2014, because the Metro connected the city’s commercial centres with its fringes, where the working class live. From enhanced mobility to its low carbon footprint, the Metro offers solutions to the congestion and pollution problems faced by most urban centres in the country.
It’s good to witness the progress of Delhi metro but then remembering our old Indian Rail services is leaving a pathetic scene in mind. The management of Indian rail system is very poor and not showing any signs of progress at all. The trains in India are bad; the stations have turned into dirty stations. Two of the biggest culprits to make it dirty are Paan/Gutka and the propensity of Indians to eat when the trains are on the move. Now we no longer avail quality services in AC coaches but the Indian railway is never slow to hike its fares. Trains in India are always full of people, unhygienic and take so long to get from one place to another. Nowadays any train reaching to its destination on time is treated its marvelous achievement. Otherwise trains in India are always late. I have just few experiences of train services in J & K. The service is just few years old but it has turned into an antique one. The walls of train are full with Laila Majnu stories and the train is so dirty that it makes you feel sad for the day.
The Indian Railways is not the only culprit. There are other genuine reasons too, which are responsible for corrupting the Indian rail services. Most important it is the mentality of people that needs a big change. It’s the travelers only that make trains dirty. We do every bit to keep our homes neat and clean. But when it comes to public property we cross all limits to make our public assets sad and dirty. The rules are proving void. Our so called security men and the clean masters are also not up to the mark. It’s our collective responsibility to preserve our public assets and in the interests of our society at large.
(The writer is Assistant Professor, ITM University Gwalior. E-mail: [email protected]