A glitch stalled Metro services in south Calcutta for nearly an hour on Tuesday afternoon, forcing thousands of stranded commuters to scurry for an auto or a taxi as buses were too crowded to board.
A Dum Dum-bound air-conditioned rake developed a snag at Rabindra Sarovar station at 1.22pm and was stuck till 2.08pm, officials said.
“The rake failed to draw power from the third rail. The glitch was fixed and the empty rake left for the Noapara shed at 2.08pm. The service on the entire stretch resumed thereafter,” said an official.
Train service was suspended between Maidan and Mahanayak Uttam Kumar (Tollygunge) stations during the period, while truncated services were run between Dum Dum and Maidan in the north, and Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Kavi Subhash (New Garia) stations in the south.
Passengers complained that trains ran several minutes late when truncated services were being operated. Trains were stopping for five-10 minutes at every station, complained passengers.
As minutes passed, the crowd kept swelling on the platforms. Many regular commuters stranded between Maidan and Tollygunge realised that they would not be able to get on the first two or three trains after the service resumed and decided to opt for surface transport.
But more problems awaited them overground. “With many deciding to use road transport, it became difficult to get a taxi. When I finally got one in Kalighat, the driver refused to go to Esplanade. I boarded a bus but it was so crowded that I had to get down,” said Kasba resident Suvo Das. “As I was getting late for work, I decided to walk. While approaching Netaji Bhawan station, I heard that the Metro service had resumed. I boarded a train at Netaji Bhawan,” added Das.
Bus stands were seen teeming with people desperately trying to get into cabs and autos or trying in vain to board crowded buses.
Sujoy Ghosh was about to enter Jatin Das Park station when a guard informed him that the service had been suspended. “I hailed a taxi but the driver asked for Rs 50 extra. So I walked till Rabindra Sarovar, where I boarded a Howrah-bound minibus. I got off at the Park Street crossing and walked to my office at Esplanade,” said Ghosh.
Kaustuv Basu, who boarded a train at Dum Dum when the service between Maidan and Tollygunge was suspended, said he waited for as long as 18 minutes before the train started. “The display boards had gone dead and we had no means of knowing when the train would start,” Basu said.