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Old Posted Feb 23, 2011, 6:42 AM
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NEW DELHI: Four months after missing the deadline, the Reliance-led concessionaire, Delhi Airport Metro Express Pvt Ltd (DAMEPL), will finally open the airport link for the public on 2pm on Wednesday. Passengers though will be getting a no-frills service, officials admitted.

Parking is not available at the New Delhi railway station (the originating station of the link) at present, said an official, adding, "We are also in talks to set up the cab services." That's not all still in the works. Sources said that besides cab services, the concessionaire was also trying to tie up other commercial services like pre-paid and TSR booths as well as check-in counters.

Good news is that along with passenger service DAMEPL will also provide porter services. The concessionaire has tied up with a private agency to deploy "educated" porters. "The porters have been given training in interpersonal skills for easy interaction with passengers," said an official. Refusing to divulge details about the porter rates, officials said that other services like radio cabs were expected to become available "soon".

The concessionaire will also offer a helpline service to commuters: 011-30802080. The helpline, available between the operational hours of 6am and 10pm, will offer information on fares, route, train operations and timings as well as double up as a public grievance system. Passengers can also use the helpline number to arrange for special arrangements like wheelchairs for senior citizens and physically disabled commuters.

According to DAMEPL officials, the frequency of trains on the Airport Express Metro line will initially be kept at 20 minutes. "This will be brought down subsequently, depending on factors like footfall, demand and other feedback," added the official.

DAMEPL also intends to ply four-six trains in the beginning, said sources. The concessionaire will be acquiring more trains from CAF, Spain, later. With a cost of Rs 5,700 crore, the Airport Express Metro line is the first PPP (public-private-partnership) Metro project in the city. The trains, which will run at a speed of 105kmph at present, have LCD screens showing flight information. A part of the compartments has been reserved for luggage.

With a base fare of Rs 80 for travel from New Delhi railway station to IGI airport, the airport link is targeted at those looking for a hassle-free commute to the airport. The concessionaire also hopes to address the need of commuters travelling to and from Dwarka to the heart of the city in a fraction of the time usually taken by other modes of travel. The fare for this service has been kept at Rs 100, which, DAMEPL officials claim, is "reasonable" for the comfort and time offered by the airport link. There are also monthly passes.
Source : Times of India
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