Delhi Metro joins elite global club as it introduces driverless trains, all eyes on smooth ops on Magenta Line

The DMRC will also start another major corridor of 57-km Pink Line (Majlis Park Shiv Vihar) with trains running without drivers this year. Image: IE

After overcoming many hurdles led by the novel Coronavirus outbreak, Delhi Metro has entered the new year 2021 with the introduction of trains that do not need drivers. Yes, the city’s most used mode of public transportation has gone driverless. Marking one of the major technological feats in the country, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) ran its first driverless train on the 37-km Magenta Line on December 28, a report by news agency PTI noted. As these new generation trains have come in, Delhi Metro can also be a part of the league that features the driverless train networks, the report citing DMRC officials said. Driverless trains across the world contribute to the seven per cent of world’s metro networks.

The DMRC will also start another major corridor of 57-km Pink Line (Majlis Park Shiv Vihar) with trains running without drivers this year.

While the step into this technological advancement is surely great for DMRC, but last year was definitely the most challenging one so far. For months, the trains remained halted as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in the national capital. On March 22, in order to curb the Coronavirus transmission, Delhi metro was suspended and for 169 days, the services did not resume. It was only after guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in September 2020, the Delhi Metro services resumed in a graded manner with a number of measures that ensured the least physical contact for riders.

The metro stations were equipped with an automated thermal screening-cum-sanitiser dispenser. Apart from this at several stations, the lift calling system was driven by a foot pedal, the report noted. Meanwhile, the government advised people and put up a banner in metro premises asking them to take the metro only until it was of absolute necessity and avoid the trains if they were feeling unwell. There is no doubt that managing the metro at a time when Delhi reported the highest growth rate for Coronavirus transmission was easy. The metros still ran in a manner that with all precautions in place. Albeit masks for people at stations and within trains remain mandatory.

The resumption in services was considered as a necessary means not only to generate revenues for the organization but also as a contribution in the economic revival. Inside coaches, notices had been put to maintain distance among people and the use of tokens had been tried to phase out slowly. Monetary transactions took place with credit, debit and smart cards along with other mobile apps and online services.

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