Auto strike sees Metro crowded, commuters lose cool (Lead)May 20th, 2011 - 10:48 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Delhi Metro saw a huge rush of commuters at some stations Friday evening due to the autorickshaw strike in the national capital, leading to snags, minor delays and chaos with angry passengers losing their cool on a hot and humid day.
The autorickshaw strike was called by some unions to protest the order to install Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on their vehicles.
“Managing the crowds was very difficult today (Friday). The numbers were overwhelming and many men walked into coaches reserved for women,” Sushil Gupta, a guard on duty at Rajiv Chowk Metro station, said.
Gupta said that the the crowd remained normal throughout the day, but it increased by evening.
“Some trains where stopped for a few extra minutes at stations because of the huge rush and the commuters where crowding near the gate forcing themselves in,” a commuter said.
Aruj Chaudhary, a toys dealer from Karol Bagh, said: “I usually take an auto to carry my toy cartons to retailers. But I was forced to take the Metro because of the auto strike and it was a dreadful experience.”
A “technical snag” forced the commuters to wait for more than half an hour at the Kashmiri Gate station around 6 p.m., which saw tempers flaring on the platform, leading to chaos.
“There were more than 200 passengers on the platform. The weather was very hot and humid. People had no clue about the cause of the delay and Metro officials were of no help,” Ankit Sharma, a management student, told IANS.
According to him, things went out of hand when some of the guards allegedly pushed passengers back, leading to heated arguments.
Another passenger, Sunanda Bhasin said: “I knew there would be a huge crowd on the platform. It was a stunning scene there. There was not even an inch left on the platform and people were shoving and pushing from everywhere.”
“To make things worse, a number of men forcefully entered the women’s coach,” she added.
The Metro staff constantly made announcements asking people to behave and calm down while apologising for the delay due to a technical snag.
According to DMRC spokesperson Anuj Dayal, the Metro ridership till 8 p.m. Friday stood at 12.9 lakh, which is 70,000 more than Thursday’s.
He also said that on an average Friday, the ridership would be around 12.7 lakh.
“But today it registered more footfalls and the busiest stations were Dilshad Garden, Rajiv Chowk, Welcome, Karol Bagh and Anand Vihar,” he said.
More than half of Delhi’s 55,000 autorickshaws went off the roads from Thursday midnight to protest the government directive to use GPS devices to enable a two-way communication system that will help check speed, route deviation and ensure commuter safety.
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Tags: ankit, cartons, chowk, commuters, delhi metro, friday evening, global positioning system, gupta, half an hour, karol bagh, management student, many men, metro officials, metro station, minor delays, rajiv, snags, some stations, technical snag, tempers