Commuters want lower Airport Metro fare, better frequency

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) As the Delhi Metro Monday took over the Airport Metro Express Line (AMEL), some commuters welcomed the change and suggested a cut in the fare, a higher frequency of trains and services till late in the night.

Mewa Singh, who was heading to the airport to fly off to Dubai, said: “I’m happy that the Delhi Metro has taken over the line, we can trust them more than any private company, as they have over 100 km long network under them.”

“The Delhi Metro should decrease the gap between two train, which is 15 minutes at present, to not more than 10 minutes,” he said.

A group of students from Finland, who had also come on a vacation in India last year, complained about the “costly” travel on the line this time round.

Last year, the charge was Rs.80 a passenger from the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport to New Delhi Railway Station and now it is Rs.150, they said.

“The last time, we paid Rs.80 per head but this time we were charged Rs.150 each which is a bit costly for a group of five,” said Symond Westi, a college student from Finland.

“If they could reduce the fare, it would be more convenient,” said Westi.

R.K. Tripathi, a frequent air traveller, sought an increase in the train speed and services in night.

“What is the use of having an Airport Metro service if they are not operating it during nights, when most of the international flights arrive,” he said.

The operations should be extended up to 2 a.m., he said.

“Earlier, it was promised that one could reach the airport in 18 minutes from New Delhi Railway Station, but it takes about 25 minutes. I hope, Delhi Metro looks into these issues,” Tripathi said.

Taking over the operations of the 23-km airport line, Delhi Metro said the priority for now was to run the service without any inconvenience to commuters. It promised to look into suggestions made by the commuters.

“We will later look into suggestions given by the commuters,” Sharat Sharma, Delhi Metro director (operations), told reporters here.

Reliance Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited on June 27 sent a notice to the Delhi Metro intimating that it would stop operating the line from Sunday midnight.

The Airport Metro was built at a cost of Rs.5,700 crore ($1.2 billion at the then exchange rate) as a public-private project.

The Delhi Metro constructed the structure and a consortium led by Reliance Infrastructure was to operate and maintain the line for 30 years.

A few months after the line came into existence, some serious defects were allegedly found in the corridor’s structure. As a result, operations had to be suspended for a few months in 2012.

The Airport Metro ferries over 15,000 people daily on the 23-km network. Some 70 percent of the travellers use the line to commute to and from the airport.

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