Given Kolkata’s fast rising preference for the metro as the best mode of mass transport, recently noticed in a big way after the extension from Tollygunge to Garia, the announcement of airconditioned rakes coming in was like a dream. But the experience of service so far has varied from pleasant to below par.
Boarded one such train (There is one, or two at the most now) from Dum Dum, the terminal station, on 26 February on way to work. The AC wasn’t working, and it started feeling hot, and suffocated to some older co-passengers. Some of them remarked that the regular rakes are better and they are happy with them as they allow air flow. Some said that if there was a problem in running the AC, this rake should not be run at office hours. To add to it, the announcement of next station in public address system which is in sync with the LCD display in the compartment was wrong. Some joked at the announcement bit that since it was just after the rail budget day, the Metro staff were probably taking it easy. The airconditioning was started and the announcement (and the display) got corrected at Central station (The 7th station from Dum Dum).
To be fair, I’ve boarded an AC rake a couple of times in the past. The airconditioning works fine, and coupled with the new design, the experience was cool.
As summer approaches, the crowd for AC metro is set to rise a lot this year. It’s high time the snags are rectified, else it can give vent to passenger dissent in a major outburst. Till it is smoothly operated, running the rakes in off-peak hours may not be a bad idea.