Months of anticipation ended in loud cheers when the first Rapid Metro train rolled into the Sikanderpur station — the transit between Delhi Metro and Rapid Metro — on Thursday.
And soon, its coaches were filled with commuters — the clerk rubbing shoulders with an MNC CEO; the migrant labourer sharing a seat with a BPO executive, a college student and a homemaker.
Besides providing relief to thousands of commuters, the Rapid Metro metaphorically bridged Gurgaon's urban-rural divide.
Mohammed Shaheed Khan, a security guard, was excited as he stepped into the brand new coach. “I work in Cyber City, but live in Chakkarpur near the station,” he said. Until Thursday Khan used to walk to work every day. “It usually took me 30 minutes to reach Cyber City. But with Rapid Metro, I can travel in comfort and ease and the rate too is affordable.
Travelling alongside him, Sanjeev Kumar, an operator with Oracle, said, “The autorickshaw has been struck off my commute now,” he said.
Sharing coach space with Khan and Kumar were some senior executives. “The traffic situation in Gurgaon is worsening by the day. Eventually, the working population will take to the public transport,” Rajat Batra, CEO, Stenum Asia, said.
The comparisons to the Delhi Metro were inevitable. “It has lesser coaches than the Delhi Metro. But in terms of services, Rapid Metro has made a good impression,” Shumika, an executive with KPMG, said.
Rapid Metro officials said about 10,000 commuters travelled on the 5.1-km route on Day One. They were seen collecting feedback from commuters. Pritam Kumar, Senior Vice President, IL&FS, said, “Some recommended that we reserve seats for the aged and women, while others said they were disturbed by the loud announcements. We will work on improving the Rapid Metro.”