Commuter indiscipline swells Delhi Metro coffers

August 26th, 2011 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 26 (IANS) Commuter indiscipline has added around Rs 34 lakhs (Rs. 3.4 million) to the coffers of Delhi Metro in the last three years. Thousands have paid penalties for offences such as spitting, creating nuisance, drunkenness, squatting, defacing Metro property and quarrelling.

The most glaring offenders, however, are men who travel in compartments reserved for women. The designation “ladies only” came into force last October.

“From October 2 last year till July this year, 3,642 males have been punished for entering coaches reserved for women and penalties totalling Rs. 910,500 generated,” a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official said.

At least 19,325 passengers have been fined for committing offences in the premises of DMRC and a fine of Rs.3,442,700 has been collected in the last two and a half years, according to the official.

So far 6,444 commuters have been penalised for spitting, 2,211 for defacing metro property, 1,542 for creating nuisance and 955 for drunkenness.

As many as 368 people have been booked for obstructing the duty of officials, 263 fined for travelling beyond the authorised distance and 481 for sitting on the train floor, according to DMRC.

For most of the offences, the penalty is Rs. 200 per offence. But it goes up to Rs. 250 for unauthorised travel in coaches reserved for women and Rs. 500 for obstructing officials on duty and interfering with means of communication.

“Despite our constant vigil, such incidents take place regularly, particularly during festival times,” a DMRC guard at Rajiv Chowk said. “We slap offenders with a fine of Rs.200 to Rs 500 for various offences, but still it continues.”

According to the Delhi Metro official, a slew of measures is been taken to have commuters behave courteously, but they are unable to control adequately offences like spitting and defacing Metro property.

“Though Delhiites have earned a (dubious) distinction of being discourteous, especially when they use public transport, a lot of effort is put in by Metro officials,” the official said. However, he expressed pleasure over the overall cleanliness of stations and trains.

Commuter Piya Koel is critical of the pushing and shoving to get in first. “On Raksha Bandhan day, when the train reached Kashmere Gate station, a middle-aged woman pushed me,” she said. “In the hustle, I dropped my mobile phone and never got it back.”

Earlier, in an interview to IANS, DMRC Managing Director E. Sreedharan had said that it took a lot of effort to achieve the desired results.

“Even if you slacken a little bit, it (cleanliness) will go down,” he said. “We don’t allow that to happen. I do surprise visits and take disciplinary action.”

Delhi Metro officials say that flying squads conduct surprise checks almost every day to catch errant commuters. “These initiatives are for the convenience of travellers, but they can be successful only with people’s cooperation,” a DMRC official said.

The Metro makes over 2,400 trips per day, traversing about 69,000 km and carrying around 1.7 million passengers on working days.

With Phase-III of the Metro project aiming to cover about 118 km and include Faridabad, the network will be 308 km-long by 2016 and is expected to carry about four million passengers.

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