The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is taking a proactive approach to address the pollution concerns in the national capital by adding 40 extra train trips on weekdays. This initiative is part of Stage II of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), designed to combat deteriorating air quality in Delhi. The added train journeys aim to promote the use of public transport, particularly the Metro, which has been an essential part of Delhi’s urban landscape for years.
DMRC, as a key player in Delhi’s public transportation network, is embracing the opportunity to enhance services. This move comes following a directive from Gopal Rai, the Environment Minister, who emphasized the need to expand DMRC services and reduce waiting times for passengers. Starting on Wednesday, these additional trips will be available across the entire DMRC network on weekdays.
Anuj Dayal, the Principal Executive Director of Corporate Communications at DMRC, shared the rationale behind this decision. With Delhi-NCR grappling with air quality issues, the plan is to encourage more people to opt for public transportation. Delhi Metro, renowned for its efficiency, usually operates over 4,300 trips daily, making it a major contributor to the city’s public transit system.
Stage II of the GRAP involves increasing the frequency and the fleet size of Metro, CNG, and electric buses. This approach aims to combat vehicular pollution and reduce the number of private vehicles on the road. The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and adjacent areas (CAQM) has urged citizens to take voluntary steps to minimize pollution, such as using technology to find less congested routes.
The move to Stage II of GRAP follows the CAQM’s guidelines that come into effect when air quality is forecasted to enter the ‘very poor’ category, as indicated by an AQI exceeding 300. While Delhi’s AQI improved from ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’ recently, the focus remains on proactive measures to manage air quality effectively.
An important statistic from a 2018 study reveals that the transport sector contributes significantly to particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) in Delhi’s air. Transport is responsible for 39% of PM2.5 in Delhi and 13% in NCR. For PM10, the figures are 19% for Delhi and 7% for NCR. To combat vehicular pollution further, CAQM has set the stage for buses originating from NCR districts and travelling to Delhi to be electric (EV) or CNG-based or to adhere to diesel VI emission standards starting from November 1, 2023.
The effort to improve air quality and reduce pollution remains a top priority for Delhi’s government and its citizens, with an increased focus on public transportation, as indicated by DMRC’s additional train trips. The collective goal is to ensure cleaner and healthier air for all residents.