When the first East-West Metro train chugged out of the station on Friday, love was in the air and the passengers marked the occasion with red roses. “We are falling in love with Metro,” they shouted in unison.
Commercial services of Kolkata’s Line 2, after all, was finally rolling out. And it was Valentine’s Day. Officials of Metro Railway and Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) made everyone feel special by offering roses and a glossy brochure that had information on all passengers needed to know about the Metro line.
The first train pulled out of the Sector V station at 8am sharp. Metro Railway and KMRC had the right excuse for celebration: felicitation of the first East-West passenger, Rajib Roy. Everyone clapped and hurrahed. Amid the cheer, some passengers shouted: “We are falling in love with Metro”. KMRC’s general manager N C Karmali and chief engineer Biswanath Deewanjee said they were fortunate to be a part of East-West’s debut run. Railway minister Piyush Goyal had flagged of the section’s commissioning the day before.
Though the onus of a seamless service of the state-of-the-art system was on them, Metro Railway’s principal chief operations manager (PCOM) Satyaki Nath and the others were in a light mood, travelling as co-passengers with the 100-odd people who bought the tokens to ride their much-awaited Metro.
The commuters were from all age-groups. From 20-year-old college-goer Soumyabrata Chakraborty to 85-year-old Dipali Chowdhury — everyone was smiling, looking happy to travel together on this special day. The octogenarian had Metro Railway’s senior transportation manager Kaushik Mitra by her side for assistance. Helped to swipe the token and then boarding the train, Chowdhury looked intently as the platform screen gates (PSGs) closed in sync with the Metro coach’s doors. “Are these meant to prevent suicides?” she asked.
The train was passing the Wipro crossing. Soma De Ghosh looked out of the window to see if she could spot her house at EE Block. The train took 13 minutes to reach Salt Lake Stadium. The timing, in fact, was maintained through the first day of service. Parimal Sharma, 65, a GD Block resident who took two rides to and from Karunamoyee and City Centre in the evening, said, “There are so many interesting features, but the best thing about the new Metro is the timing. The footfall varied at six different stations. Till, 7pm, around 13,495 commuters had travelled the East-West Metro, and Metro Railway had grossed an earning of Rs 1.3 lakh.
The ridership peaked in the mid-morning and the evening. Sector V station saw a steady flow of passengers and so did City Centre. But Bengal Chemical didn’t have too many of them, even though it’s next to the Mani Square mall. There were quite a few youngsters who celebrated V-day with groupfies inside East-West Metro trains and stations. Among them were Nilotpal Sen, Nayna Ghosh, Abir Guha and Banya Roy. After taking a ride in the evening, they immediately posted their group picture on the Facebook, with captions like “We love East-West Metro” and “The Metro is our best V-Day present ever”.
Source: Times of India