Valentine Day for the residents of Salt Lake began with a new experience of a joy ride in the city’s newest underground transport system. The commercial operations in the first phase of the East-West Metro were thrown open to the public today. The morning of the ‘day of love,’ was equally enthralling for both motorman S. Chowdhury, and the commuters of the first phase of Line-II.

The fact that both were to be a part of history, re-written after 36 years, filled them with excitement and enthusiasm. The delight of enjoying the first commercial run of one of the most modern transport systems of the city attracted a large number of local residents who queued in long lines at the ticket counter at Sector- V. The Metro authorities, on the other hand, left no stones unturned, to make their commuters’ first journey, a cherishable one.

Each commuter was presented with a red rose while taking the tokens at the ticket counters. Rajiv Roy, became the first commuter to purchase the token of the Phase-I of East-West Metro. The metro railway officials gifted him with a momento to mark the occasion. As the clock struck 8.00 am, the motorman helmed the state-of-the-art rake through Sector-V to the next five stations and back to Sector V. The commuters, who claimed that the truncated services hardly offered any convenience to them, nevertheless did not want to miss a chance of taking a joy ride.

“I am a resident of Salt Lake. Had the services been stretched further, it would have been some convenience to me,” claimed an elderly commuter. “The truncated services till Salt Lake Stadium are of hardly any use to me and my family. However, being a local resident, I did not want to miss a chance to take a joy ride at the first opportunity available,” he added.

Tithi Halder, another commuter, who was had also enjoyed a ride in the first commercial run of the North- South Metro in the year 1984, said, “This is a very good initiative. In 1984, as it was an underground metro, the people were keener to know about the experience of travelling in it. There was a huge crowd starting from the ticket counter and spilling outside the station. There were queues of commuters till the road. As the people now are more or less used to Metro, the gathering is less. However, as it is an elevated metro, it is unique in its own way and I am delighted to enjoy the ride.”

Another commuter, who claimed to have never taken a journey in the Metro, became the first woman passenger to be handed over the token of the first commercial operations. Notably, the first services in the Phase-I of Line-II metro will start from 8 a.m. and end at 8 p.m. with 37 services on weekdays and 25 services on Sundays on Up and Down lines. The services on Sundays, however, will start from 12 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. from both directions. According to sources in Metro, around 7400 commuters took a ride till 4 p.m. on the first day of the commercial services of the six stations stretch of the East- West Metro.