Delhi Metro logs 2 billion passenger trips for 2023 — highest ever | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi Metro logs 2 billion passenger trips for 2023 — highest ever

Jan 18, 2024 05:11 AM IST

The increase is attributed to the return of regular office operations and the impact of new Metro lines.

The Delhi Metro recorded 2,032,342,972 passenger journeys in 2023 — the first time that the mass rapid transit system has crossed the 2-billion mark, data shared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has revealed.

Passengers board a train at a metro station in Delhi. (HT Photo)
Passengers board a train at a metro station in Delhi. (HT Photo)

The passenger journeys last year were far more than the 1.49 billion passenger journeys for 2022, the data showed, adding that the figure also easily surpassed pre-pandemic levels —before 2023, the record for the most number of passenger journeys in a single year was set in 2019 at 1,84 billion.

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At present, DMRC operates a 393-km network in Delhi-NCR, consisting of 288 stations. There are 12 Metro lines operational in the region, which includes the Airport Express Line (AEL), the Rapid Metro in Gurugram, and the Aqua Line (Noida-Greater Noida).

The Delhi Metro operated on all 365 days of the year till 2019. In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic curtailed operations to 197 and 337 days, respectively, before full-fledged operations resumed from 2022.

DMRC said that there were at least two possible reasons for the spike in number seen in 2023 — the first reason, it said, was a switch from pandemic-induced work-from-home to regular office operations, and second, it said, the footfall impact of the Pink and Magenta Lines (operationalised in 2018) and the Grey Line (operationalised in 2019) could also be reflecting more accurately now.

“A key reason behind this could be normalising of operations, which has gradually brought an increase in footfall and led to more people travelling. The Metro has emerged as a popular mode of transport for that,” a DMRC official said on condition of anonymity.

The official also noted that the impact of the lockdown in 2020 halted the increasing footfall trend emerging from new Metro lines. “We saw an increase in footfall due to the Pink and Magenta lines in 2019, but then Covid-19 halted that trend. From 2022 onwards, there has been a gradual increase in footfall once more,” the official said.

In 2023, DMRC also recorded an average of 5.56 million passenger journeys per day, up from 4.09 million passengers in 2022, and 5.05 million passengers in 2019. On weekdays, the metro fared even better, averaging 6.02 million daily passenger journeys in 2023, compared to 4.47 million in 2022, and 5.46 million in 2019.

How DMRC calculates passenger journeys

Till 2018, DMRC calculated passenger “ridership” — the total number of tickets sold, and the Metro cards used by commuters to enter and exit a station. From 2019 however, it began to calculate passenger journeys — the number of Metro lines used by a single passenger to complete his or her journey.

“For ridership, each entry and exit of a commuter would be counted towards the daily total, and the figure would be one, no matter how many lines the passenger used. Passenger journeys, meanwhile, can include line interchanges, and each line is a separate number. So, if a passenger uses three Metro lines before exiting, this counts as three passenger journeys,” the DMRC official explained.

Shreya Gadepalli, a transport expert and founder of the Urban Works Institute, said that as a city grows, the travel demand grows. She also noted that a comparison between figures for 2023 and 2019 would be a more accurate reflection of the current situation.

“This also shows that all sectors have become normal once more post-Covid, and that the same crowd which would travel via the Metro in 2019 has returned to the network. The additional increase, though marginal, is still a good sign and shows further growth in travel. This may possibly include people opting out of using private vehicles due to growing congestion in Delhi,” said Gadepalli, adding that a similar scenario is being seen in Mumbai, where due to new Metro lines, people are opting out of using private vehicles.

“If a public transport system is reliable, there is incentive to use it, as opposed to a private vehicle, which may get stuck in traffic.”

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