The not-so-smooth ride of IGI Metro
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Early in 2009, when the financial closure of the Delhi Airport Metro Express Line was signed, an optimistic Delhi Metro and the Reliance Infrastructure-led concessionaire painted a larger than life image of the high-speed corridor, linking the international terminal of the Delhi airport to the heart of the city.
Three years later, and barely a year into operations, the line has many problems to call its own — it failed to meet the deadline to start operations, could not follow the 20-hour operational schedule, had to bring down the speed of trains from stipulated 120 kmph to 80kmph and was finally closed due to safety hazards.
It was announced that at least 40,000 commuters will use the high-speed link daily — though R-Infra kept a more realistic target of 25,000 passengers per day — but the highest number it touched was 20,000.
Officials said factors taken into consideration for the estimated ridership had changed.
When the projections were made, it was assumed that Terminal 3 will soon take over the entire load of Terminal 1 and there would be one point for both domestic and international flights. But with a majority of domestic airlines still using Terminal 1 of the airport, the Metro lost out on many riders.
Lack of connectivity between the two terminals made matters worse. Officials said the airport handles over 1.10 lakh fliers per day, while the airport Metro ferries only as many as 12,000 commuters to the IGI Airport daily, a dismal 10 per cent of the total target commuter base.
The link also suffers from poor connectivity between the line and the rest of the Metro network. Dwarka Sector-21 is the only station where the Airport Metro is integrated with the Delhi Metro at the platform level.
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