New Delhi: Mohammad Kamil, a 42-year-old non-resident Indian returning from Saudi Arabia, is in complete awe of the Metro Express that takes one from the New Delhi railway station to the international airport in just 20 minutes.
"I can`t differentiate between Saudi Arabia and India right now. The speed, comfort and the time and money I save by using it - it`s just fantastic value. With such developments, I feel proud to be an Indian," Kamil said.
As more and more people get to use the new Metro line, they are loving the ambience, the speed, and its super efficiency. Proud residents say the Delhi Airport Metro Express will play a pivotal role in transforming Delhi into a world class city.
According to officials of the Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), around 7,000 travellers are using the service on a daily basis.
The airport express line commenced operations Feb 23 and is Delhi Metro`s first public-private partnership project. Delhi Metro is responsible for the civil work and Reliance Infrastructure will operate the line for 30 years and share the revenues.
The 20-km journey takes 20 minutes and LCD screens display flight information inside the train coaches. The distance otherwise takes over an hour to cover by road.
"I took the Metro from the New Delhi railway station and it should have taken 20 minutes to reach here, but the journey was completed in just 19 minutes," said an amazed Nazir Iqbal, who had come to drop his sister at the airport.
According to Sharad Sahni, the new Metro line is a wonderful alternative to other modes of transport like taxis and uncomfortable auto-rickshaws.
"You have the luxury to travel air-conditioned at half the price of other public transport and minus the jams, heat and smoke," said the second-time traveller.
"The speed at which it is travelling - I read it is 105 km per hour - you get the feel of an aircraft and with the superb amenities at the stations, our air journey begins the minute we enter the Metro station!" Sahni added.
However, some travellers opined that the tickets could have been cheaper and direct baggage check-in from the station should be introduced as soon as possible. Officials say this will be possible in a few months. The travel from the New Delhi railway station to the airport costs Rs.80 and the full journey up to Dwarka Sector-21 costs Rs.100.
"The prices could be slashed a bit once the footfall increases," said Rakesh Bhoj, a businessman from Gujarat who visits the capital twice a month.
"I am travelling for the first time after reading about it in the newspapers and I must say I am very impressed," Bhoj said.
"At present, this line is just perfect and I hope they don`t spoil it by introducing the `women reservation` coaches here too," Bhoj quipped.
A Reliance Infrastructure official said direct baggage check-in was likely to begin next week.
According to DAMEPL officials, the numbers are expected to grow further once the direct baggage check-in and the Dhaula Kuan and Delhi Aero city stations are opened soon.
With a combination of elevated, at-grade and underground lines in its 190 km network, the Delhi Metro has revolutionised the way people travel in congested Delhi since 2002. An economical, comfortable and efficient mode of travel, the Metro is used by 1.5 million people every day. The city is much better connected within and also to neighbouring sub-urban towns like Noida and Gurgaon, with more places to be connected soon.