Around 18 years after the country’s cultural city saw the initiations of the first metro lines, the capital city welcomed its own. Delhi now proudly claims a wide, connected network of mass rapid transit- Delhi Metro mai apka swagat hai. A frequent travel of the Kolkata Metro during my many vacations spent there, I have always adored this system of transportation. The underground, dimly-lit, green tinted stations, the hawkers on the subway staircases selling toys- everything stands vivid in my memory. Imagine my disappointment then, when I realized that Delhi’s Metro lines would be no such underground affair.
However, while the magic of my childhood experience of travelling in a Matrix- style underground metro might be missing be missing from DMRC’s baby, Delhi metro has turned out to be largely efficient and functionally appropriate for the city’s needs. With about the same fare, the Delhi Metro system is much more interconnected with 4 different lines- blue, yellow, violet and red- running criss-cross covering almost all parts of the city while Kolkata metro remains a single line from Dum Dum to Kazi Nazrul.
Both the systems have the card system that helps save not just money but also time in cutting short the minutes otherwise spent standing in a line to buy a ticket/token. Delhi Metro also boasts of the better and tighter security system in accordance with the higher rate of security threat in Delhi than in Kolkata. However, this can sometimes be a hassle to commuters who don’t frequent the metro enough to know the sudden changes of rules and the phases of tighter security. Swiss army knives for instance, and even pen knives, are glared at with much contempt and suspicion and only allowed to be taken after much debate. Now, for someone who loves their stationary, it might be a problem if they had to start disposing off items from their bags before stepping into the metro. On the other hand, Kolkata metro has a much laxer security, which falls apart even more during rush hours. This, however, is not a huge risk in a rather calm city like Kolkata.
In terms of civility when it comes to commuters, Delhi has the least to offer- merciless jostling, stuffing in beyond capacity even when the guards are shouting themselves hoarse, pushing and jumping lines during check outs- all of this is a common sight. In comparison, Kolkata Metro affords a much more sophisticated and civilised ride. All in all, while it is a much needed relief from constant traffic jams a day in the Delhi Metro is functionally a mundane affair for daily commuters looking to get away from the blazing summer heat and endless trials of car-packed streets. During non-rush hours, it can be a delight to gaze at the city from a vantage point up high, but those non-rush hours are few and far between. The Kolkata Metro on the other hand is a tourist’s delight- the magic remains- slow, relaxed, lazy even- much like the city itself. I’ll deem them equal but my bias tilts towards my childhood memories- Kolkata Metro continues to fascinate me even with all the technological advancement the Delhi Metro has made.
Contributed by Ateendriya