“Construction work has just started on Delhi Metro Phase-II and stations will take several years to be completed. I feel it is unfair to criticise the stations even before they are complete,” says Anuj Dayal, Chief Public Relations Officer Delhi Metro Corporation (D.M.R.C.) in an interview to Parvinder Singh.
1. Metro is seen as the model example of safe and comfortable travel for all commuters. But do you feel it has paid adequate attention to the needs of disabled people and old people? Please elaborate.
The Delhi Metro is one of the most disabled friendly public transport systems in India and compares to the best in the world. All our stations have ramps from the streets so that wheelchair-bound persons can directly roll up to the lifts. The lifts move to the concourse level where the ticketing counters are located. From the concourse level, other lifts take them to the platform level. Signs have also been put up outside all lifts that these are exclusively for the use of disabled persons.The control panels inside all the lifts are placed at a low level so that persons on wheelchairs can access these without having to strain themselves. Besides, there are Braille buttons on the control panels for the benefit of blind persons.Other special arrangements have also been made for the visually impaired. Tactile paths have been provided outside the lifts so that they can follow these to go directly from the ground level to the trains. Inside the trains, special spots have been earmarked for wheelchairs. Besides, there are reserved seats for the elderly in the trains.
2. In the first phase, Metro was hailed for its disabled friendly features. However, in the consequent phases, shortcuts have been taken. How do you react to this claim by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People?
The Delhi Metro is very conscious of the needs of disabled people and makes all efforts so that they do not face any difficulties. You may remember that our Managing Director, Dr E Sreedharan, took personal interest in this matter and the designs of all stations were made disabled friendly even before the Government directed that public places be made accessible to disabled people. All stations in Phase-I conform to these requirements. Construction work has just started on Phase-II and stations will take several years to be completed. I feel it is unfair to criticise the stations even before they are complete.
3. As an employer, does the Metro have disabled people as members of its staff?
Several disabled people are employed at various levels in the
Delhi Metro, including administration and depots. Of course, no such employee is
present on operation duty or at these stations as they are required to meet
stringent physical fitness standards.
4. Have you tried taking feedback from your disabled or old aged commuters on how these services can be improved?
There is a well-established procedure for Metro users to give
their feedback. Customer care centres are present at all stations and feedback
forms are available with all station managers. Besides, people can contact us
through email or by calling up our call centre. It is probably a measure of the
efficiency of our disabled-friendly system that we have received almost no
complaints from disabled people in more than three years of operation.
5. What message would you like to give to our readers, particularly those with disabilities? Will Metro keep its promise of disabled-friendly infrastructure and services?
The Delhi Metro has a solemn commitment towards its commuters, including disabled people, to make their journey a world-class, hassle-free experience. We take this commitment of ours very seriously and strive constantly to fulfil it.
Editor’s note: A set of supplementary questions was also sent to D.M.R.C. Chief Public Relations Officer following the letter from Metro's Chief Architect stating the policy of only one entrance. No response was received till the uploading of this issue.