The response on Day 1 of Mazi Metro was nothing less than overwhelming. Around 11,000 Nagpurkars enjoyed the free rides that spanned through seven back-and-forth rides throughout the day. According to Metro officials, the rush is expected to persist as the tickets have been priced low for the next few days.
As scheduled, the first train took off from Sitabuldi at 8am. Almost every passenger got a seat despite the crowd making a beeline at the interchange station. There were no takers for the metro at the Airport station, whereas a few persons boarded the metro at the Airport South station.
On the first journey back from Khapri, around 400 passengers comprising of about a hundred school children and 300 others boarded the train. The number rose to a steep 650 for the 9.30am train from Sitabuldi. The Metro officials said the 11am train saw even more people queued up for the joyride.
A special ride for women was organized at 5pm on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Mayor Nanda Jichkar and all the senior IAS and IPS officers were invited for the ride. But due to a working week day, most of ladies could not make it. Although, Jichkar graced the occasion and took the joyride.
The chaos erupted when passengers who boarded the train from Khapri did not get down at the Sitabuldi station and wanted to travel back to Khapri. This led to Metro officials announcing that the train has been cancelled so that those passengers could get off the train. Some believed the broadcast and got off but there was still a huge number that stayed on. The officials then announced that train would go only till Airport South station but that did not work as well. The Metro officials then intervened and asked the male passengers to accommodate themselves in the half of the first carriage, keeping the other half for women. Finally the train took off at 5.45pm which led to the train operations being delayed by 45 minutes.
The huge number of people making it for the joyride from Khapri was unexpected for the Metro officials. “We were expecting that most people would get in at Sitabuldi and come back after enjoying a to and fro ride,” a Metro official said.
The passengers who showed up at the Sitabuldi station to catch the 5pm metro were disgruntled at the Metro officials for not being allowed to enter. They were also angry at the officials for not being told beforehand about the delay.
The ticketing rides start from Saturday. The rush is expected to continue as many did not get a chance to enjoy the joyride due to the glitch.
MahaMetro managing director Brijesh Dixit said, “Every ticket purchased by passengers will be accounted for as the system is computerized. There is no possibility of misappropriation of cash.” The cash chests of all the stations have been procured by the agency for collecting and storing the fare. “When the shift changes the person leaving will count the cash in presence of the one joining. It will be entered into a register. We have an agreement with SBI. It will collect cash on Monday morning from all our stations,” said the MD.
Metro officials foresee that the passengers will find it difficult to use the QR code tickets as it is being used for the first time. But Dixit has made certain that the station staff will assist the passengers to place the ticket on the gate sensor.
Information source: timesofindia
Title image source: Prerana