The inclusion of Sealdah in the East-West Metro map has started bringing many new commuters to the carrier.
The count will only go up in the coming days, said Metro officials.
On Thursday, when commercial services started from Sealdah, the carrier sold 923 smart cards in the east-west corridor. In comparison, the north-south corridor sees sales of 900-1,000 smart cards daily.
The Metro smart card is integrated, meaning a person can use it in either of the two corridors.
The average daily passenger count on the north-south route is around 5 lakh. The daily count in the east-west corridor, which used to hover around 3,000, shot up to 31,037 on Thursday.
“Considering 30,000 passengers, one thousand new smart cards is a big number. We hope it will go up in the future,” said a Metro official.
The inclusion of Sealdah links central Kolkata with the office hub in the east. While Sector V and adjoining areas of Rajarhat and New Town form the tech hub, many government offices dot Karunamoyee.
Besides employees in these offices, a big section of vendors and maintenance staff — from housekeeping to those in charge of lifts and generators — come from the northern and southern suburbs of Kolkata.
The first phase of East-West Metro started in February 2020, connecting Sector V with the Salt Lake stadium. In October 2020, the operational stretch was extended till Phoolbagan.
“The distance between Phoolbagan and Sealdah is only around 2.3km. But Sealdah gives a boost that Phoolbagan never could, mainly because of the suburban railway passengers,” said the official.
Suman Boral, who lives in Belghoria in northeast Kolkata, used to take a train to Bidhannagar and then catch a bus to Sector V. On Friday, he bought a smart card because from Sealdah, he can reach his destination much faster and more comfortably.
Officials of the Sealdah division of Eastern Railway said they expected the start of Metro services from Sealdah to push up the footfall at the suburban station as well.
“Many people in places like Serampore, Bally and Hind Motor, who have to visit Salt Lake for work, are now forced to travel by road, through Belghoria Expressway and Jessore Road. They will also gradually switch to East-West Metro,” said an official.
On Friday, the East-West passenger count was 22,608 till 5pm. Close to 12,000 passengers were recorded at Sealdah Metro station alone till 5pm, said a Metro official.