... in metro

Delhi metro now moving more people per day than the entire Dutch national railways

delhi metro > ns

This was mentioned in passing in an item on carbon trading that ran in today’s NOS evening news: the delhi metro is now transporting more passengers per day than the dutch national railways. a quick check on wikipedia shows that this is a bit of an understatement: daily ridership of the delhi metro system is 1.8M passengers per day while the NS is moving a mere 1.1M passengers per day (and struggling to do so i might add).

This figure pretty much blows my mind in a number of ways. while there have been railways in the netherlands since 1839 the delhi metro did only exist for a year or so when i first came to delhi in 2003. in less then 10 years this system has evolved into a system with 6 lines, 142 stations and 190KM of tracks. if you believe the delhi capital website you can even rent bicycles at some stations (back in 2003 the fact that i cycled from conaught circle to sarai was considered completely insane).

This is quite an achievement for a city that did not have much of a public transport infrastructure until 5 years ago. I still vividly how during one of my first trips on the delhi metro i observed multiple grown ups who tried to get a grip on the escalators in various stations. Seeing grown ups, how had clearly never encounters an escalator before, gathering the courage to step onto the moving stairs was one of the most powerful illustrations of modernization that i can imagine.

In the same vein the fact that there are now more riders on the delhi metro than on the the entire NS system strikes me as one of the most powerful illustrations of the insignificance of what is happening in the europe vis-a-vis the rest of the world and asia on particular…

I could watch this for hours...

03 May 2011 | 51 words | new york public transport metro

via kevin who discovered this marvel of a .gif animation which reminds me of a similar one i once made for the wireless bijlmer project website in 2003 (now defunct but archived here, you need wait for a few seconds before the train appears in the top right corner):

neverending commute

Exploring the Paris Métro

25 Dec 2010 | 90 words | metro paris photos public transport

Speaking about required reading: head over to sleepycity.net for wonderful (and long) write-up by a guy who has spend the last years exploring (at night on foot) the Paris Métro system. The article is illustrated with a bunch of terrific photos.

Reading this makes me jealous. Personally i have never come any further than maybe 150 meters into the tunnel extending from the ‘Waterloo‘ station in my old hometown of Hannover. These guys claim that they have explored alomst the entire Métro system in Partis (214KM according to wikipedia). respect!

I have changed my mind...

About the Noord Zuid Lijn: i really think that instead of finishing of the line and having subway trains running somewhen past 2015 they should just finish the tunnel and then turn it into a super deluxe underground bicycle express-path. The tunnel would dramatically cut down the time needed to get to the center, prevent you from rain and would probably be used by more locals on a daily basis than a subway ever will. The thing needs to have lots of smooth on- and off-ramps that connect it to the cross streets and of course tourists need to be prevented from using it.

North south line tunnel under the sixhaven by Mauritsvink

Delhi metro

While not being as efficient as the São Paulo metro system (efficiency being rather absent from public services in india in general), the delhi metro system – which has been growing from one 5 station line to 3 lines with more than 40 stations in the last 3 years – is quite an experience as well:

First there are those constant recorded security reminders that are either unrivaled in their directness (‘do not touch abandoned objects as they might contain explosives’) or simply absurd (‘do not befriend strangers’). These messages are on more or less constant replay in all stations and trains and give the impression that the Delhi Metro Corporation is even more paranoid than the mindless, racist idiots that are running the British airports (but then they do not really hassle you when you take the metro in Delhi).

So unfortunately one has to bear these nonsense announcements in order to experience the wonderful experience of ‘Chawri Bazaar’ station: located smack under the middle of Delhi’s Old City this station embodies fractured modernity in its most tangible form. The metro station in all it’s stainless steel, polished stone, glass and RFID based turnstiles glory is extremly 21st century (if one manages to ignore the security guard with his 1920s winchester rifle, which definitely is the weapon of choice when engaging terrorists within a crowded subway station).

While even in other parts of the city these metro stations feel strangely detached from the rest of the city fabric, exiting Chawri Bazar station this sensation is almost overwhelming: The polished stone stairs take you in the middle of a busy intersection in the old city, where cycle rickshaws and push-carts represent the state of the art when it comes to transport, the sky is being covered by a multitude of telephone and electricity cables and the smell of countless open air food stalls is competing with the stench of garbage and excrement from the various live animals lingering around.

If you ever have the chance to visit Delhi make sure that you take the metro to Chawri Bazaar in the evening, then get into a cycle rickshaw and ask the riksahw wallah to take you to Karims to have a bit of mutton.

São Paulo Metrô

03 Jul 2006 | 371 words | sao paulo public transport urbanism cities metro

I have blogged about public transport in São Paulo before and i have made someobservations while traveling on the subway (called metrô by the locals) but being back in town i have realized that i have not really given enough credits to the metrô system itself.

The system is absolutely amazing. at the moment it has 4 lines among them two (the red and the blue line) which are mayor ones and two others that act as feeder lines. both main lines run at 2 minutes intervals off-peak and at 60 second intervals during peak hours. apparently the whole system transports about 3.8 million passengers a day and employs a number of sophisticated measures to avoid this massive amount of travelers on a relatively small system to end up in absolute chaos:

Most station have painted waiting corridors on the ground (something that the Brazilians seem to love) which mean that you are supposed to queue up between white lines painted on the ground. Some of the bigger stations enforce structured queueing-up by metal barriers (like at the slaughter-house) and the most busy ones have separate platforms for getting on and off the trains (the doors facing the disembarking platform open before the doors on the embarking side so that passengers can get off before new passengers get on).

The most amazing station in the whole system is ‘Sé’ where the red (east-west) and blue (north-south) lines connect. it feels like as if about 50% of the passengers on either line change for the other one or exit at Sé station. in order for this massive amount of people to flow without interruption the flows within the station have been completely separated: passengers leave the subway cars towards an inside platform that is directly connected to the outside platforms on the other line’s level. at rush hour there is an almost continuos flow of passengers from the blue line to the red line and vice versa, which is quite an amazing sight.

Apart from this extremely well-choreographed handling of masses the fact that they have a station called ‘imigrantes‘ (on the green line) is another reason to love the planners of the São Paulo Metrô

More panorama shots here and here.

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: