Joka-Taratala Metro service starts for 7.5 hours on weekdays

Stretch too short, trains too few, rue residents

Subhajoy Roy And Debraj Mitra Kolkata Published 03.01.23, 06:59 AM
Commuters on a Joka-Taratala Metro train on Monday; (right) passengers exit the Taratala platform

Commuters on a Joka-Taratala Metro train on Monday; (right) passengers exit the Taratala platform Pictures by Sanat Kr Sinha

Commercial service on the Joka-Taratala stretch of the Joka Esplanade Metro line started on Monday but residents along the route said the short stretch and too few trains would fail to deliver any real benefits.

Only six trains will run from each end — Joka and Taratala — in a day. No trains will run on Saturdays and Sundays.


The first train will leave Joka at 10am, by when a good number of office-goers would have left the zone. The last train will leave Taratala at 5.30pm, again a time by when many people returning home from work would not have reached anywhere near Taratala, said a resident.

The trains will run at one-hour intervals in each direction.

This is the second Metro line in Kolkata to run on a truncated stretch. The Sector V-Sealdah stretch of East-West Metro became slightly more useful after the service was extended till Sealdah from Phoolbagan.

About 30,000 people commute on the Sector V-Sealdah stretch every day, said a Metro Railway official.

The entire East-West corridor is expected to be ready by the end of 2023.

The official target for the completion of the Joka-Esplanade corridor is 2025. But with the bulk of underground tunnelling work left, meeting the deadline is a tall order, conceded Metro officials.

The Airport-New Garia Metro link is supposed to be ready by 2026. The truncated stretch between New Garia and Ruby was to have been operational in 2022, but that did not happen.

On Monday, most of the passengers on the JokaTaratala stretch were out for a joy ride. Among the few exceptions was 18-year-old Raunak Halder, a student of film studies.

“I used to come to my friend’s place in Taratala from Joka by bus or autorickshaw. With the Metro line being (partially) operational, I thought about taking a ride. I feel the gap of an hour between two trains is too long,” he said. A

Behala resident was more critical. “There is no point running the last train at 5.30pm. People leave their offices after 5.30pm. How will they reach Taratala by 5.30pm?” he said. “Even in the morning, the first train from Joka is at 10am.”

A section of officials of Metro Railway acknowledged that a truncated corridor like Joka-Taratala will not be of much use to commuters.

One of them, who requested not to be named, said the poor operating ratio of the carrier has forced a cautious approach. “Running trains without enough passengers will hurt our coffers, which are anyway depleted,” the official said.

The number of trains will be increased and the timings extended if needed, said another official.

“We are assessing the demand. In the coming days, we will enhance the services if there is sufficient demand,” said Ekalabya Chakraborty, spokesperson for Metro Railway.

On Monday, 5,003 passengers travelled on the Joka-Taratala stretch, said an official. The Joka-Esplanade line is also called the purple line. The stations on the Joka-Taratala stretch have public toilets. Besides, there are elevators from the ground floor to the platform level. The stations also have bins meant for biodegrabale and non-biodegradable waste.

On Monday, there was a long queue outside the Joka and Taratala stations before the first trains. People clicked pictures, recorded videos and even made video calls to show the new platforms to others.

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