The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 28 , 2012
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Metro commuter surge after rail link

The number of passengers taking the Metro from Kavi Subhash station has doubled in a day with the underground link to the adjacent New Garia local train station thrown open on Monday.

Ten thousand tokens were sold from the ticket counters at Kavi Subhash (New Garia) Metro station till 8.30pm on Tuesday. Officials said the number was likely to touch 11,000 by the end of the day, compared with 5,000 on Monday.

“There were queues of about 20 people in front of each of the four counters during the morning rush hour,” said a Metro Railway official at Kavi Subhash station, who was reminded of the Puja rush. “We had such long queues during Puja, but it is rare on a normal working day.”

About 6,000 more people are likely to have taken the Metro on the first day after the link with New Garia station was opened. The count is likely to go up from December 1, by when the monthly passes of suburban rail passengers would have lapsed.

“We expect an additional 40,000 passengers. The halt station will turn into an interface station like Dum Dum,” said Protyush Ghosh, the deputy general manager (general) of Metro.

“Earlier, I used to take the suburban train till Sealdah and then a bus to Esplanade,” said Jagadish De, a Sonarpur resident who frequently travels to central Calcutta. Happy that he will now travel in lesser time and greater comfort, De said: “I will get a seat too since this is the first station at this end.”

Passengers boarding the Metro from other stations, however, are likely to bear the brunt of the extra load. Metro has already seen an increase of around one lakh commuters on weekdays in less than a year. In morning and evening peak hours, trains are often delayed with doors refusing to shut. The average passenger load on each train is just over 2,400, but the number reaches 3,500 in peak hours. Officials fear the peak-hour load will cross 4,000 with the new connectivity in place.

The Metro authorities plan to run trains every five minutes for a longer duration to tackle the rush. But the increased frequency cannot be implemented before December 2 since there aren’t enough trains available.