So, I sat in the Delhi Airport Metro Express for the first time during my visit to Delhi this week. I had heard about this Express for some time but because I have been flying Low-cost airlines (non-Jet Airways) whenever on official work, I have not been in the T-3 Airport Terminal for quite some time. So this time when Indigo seems to be losing their cost competitiveness over Jet, I snapped the opportunity…it was a “T-3 + Express” driven reason to fly Jet.
I called the local office cab to Shivaji Stadium railway station instead of at the airport, smart decision because the last 1.5 km from Shivaji Stadium to my office in Connaught Place might not have been physically possible in my suit and dragging my overnight bag.
The journey took me 16 mins flat !!! Am still to get over it. The 1.5km cab ride from Shivaji Stadium to Baarakhamba Road took another 16 mins. A normal cab ride from the airport to my office would have taken 1 hour in the peak morning hour that I had landed.
Anyways, coming to the COMPARISON, I had the opportunity to use the Paddington Express on my family holiday to London a few months back. Heathrow to Paddington in 20 mins flat (normal London tube would take 45 mins and a black cab would take 1 hour). So here goes Delhi vs London :
Delhi 9/10. London 7.5/10 !!!! Our Express is a clear winner.
- Fare for Delhi Express ride from airport to Connaught Place (Shivaji Stadium) is Rs 120. Paddington Express fare was 20 Pounds ! Even at purchasing power parity of a 1:4, it come to an equivalent of Rs 450 !!! Also, (Meru) cab fare in Delhi for same distance would be Rs 400 and in London 80 GBP.
- Cleanliness of Delhi Express is 9/10 vs 8/10 for Paddington, largely because you are not allowed to eat in our version. A bit authoritarian but smart…People in London start eating the moment they enter their Train and over the years, the trains get spoilt. Indian solution – NO EATING OR DRINKING ALLOWED J. Cruel but effective. I sipped in my water bottle surreptitiously.
- There is an indicator in Delhi Express which tells the passengers as to which side the platform is going to come. Amazing !!! I have not travelled in Mumbai locals for past 12 years but when I used to do that, for new travellers, guessing which side of the train does the next railway platform come was a great game. And it was not funny. As crowds moved from one side to the other, and shirts used to get ironed both sides. Not there in Paddington or for that matter in any of the London Tube trains.
- Announcement of the next station – available in both Expresses
- There is an LED map of the entire route (Dwarka to Delhi Railway Station) – a series of LEDs lighting the route. The LEDs keep on getting lighted as the Express covers the proportionate distance on the real route. So between Dhaula Kuan station and Shivaji Stadium, which is a non-stop run, one can know roughly as to how far Shivaji is. The LEDs were lighting in 24 seconds per LED (40 LEDS, 16 mins).
- Connectivity from the Express Station to other places in the city – Delhi 3/10, London 9/10.
Other aspects about our Delhi Express : Ticket was easily purchased from inside the airport itself. A blue plastic token with Reliance ADAG written on it. ADAG have given up operating this route since last month because of not being able to break even. However, the token tickets remain.
Occupancy at 9:40am train was 60% – not much in demand. Should be unprofitable. 50% of passengers were young lady executives from Dwarka, easily a preferred mode of travel for them – all power to them – more such alternatives need to be generated. Trains leaving every 15 mins.
A must-do !!!