Thursday, May 26, 2005

Delhi Metro - An example..

I have had quite a convenient time traveling from the hostel to home by Delhi Metro on weekends. Delhi Metro has been running on this certain stretch (which incidentally suits me very much) for more than a year now. A couple of things are worth noting. The metro uses quite an advanced ticketing system for the people who use it. You need to flash your ticket coin in front of a screen and the machine reads it and a gate opens to allow you through if everything is in order. There is someone posted at the gate to help people who are traveling for the first time.. but more often than not, people are able to slide through without any help. Secondly, the environment is unimaginably tidy. When the metro project was inaugurated and opened to public, it came as a sparklingly clean train with sophisticated stations, automatic doors. It was an air-conditioned public transport system for the general public at pretty reasonable rates.. The most striking thing about the Metro that I have observed is that it has managed to maintain its cleanliness along the way. I attribute this to two things – The average Indian becomes a much better person when he is at a place which reflects cleanliness (seldom found anywhere else). People don’t spit, throw trash or spoil the place in any way. I think it’s the aura of the place which keeps the people from making a mess. Once off the metro, the same psychology returns and you can find the same people who were very suave in the metro suddenly spitting around or throwing away wrappers.

People have a perception that anything that comes up in India and is opened for general public use ultimately becomes a trash can. The above clearly sets a different example. There were some announcements (in clear English and Hindi) regularly when the train was launched. The announcement was something like this – “Smoking, drinking or eating is not permitted on the Delhi Metro. Please help us keep your environment neat and tidy. Please use the trash bins kept on the stations to throw trash.” Now this announcement has been called off.. (I don’t know if its this reason for calling it off or not, but its been called off). And when the train was flagged off, I remember there was Metro staff on the train to check on traveler behavior. And once or twice people were rebuked for throwing trash or something.. Over time, people have become “educated” and the train runs with minimum supervision and remains the cleanest public transport system in Delhi.

Our “unaware” society needs to be trained properly. People don’t litter around intentionally but it’s a habit with them. Its something which most people don’t care about and is unimportant to them. A different psychology plays in the mind of the same people when they are in the metro. They don’t want to spoil something which looks good. There is no trash around and they don’t want to be the first ones to make a mess. Metro sets a fine example..

Another incident which comes to my mind now is about an NRI aunt who was visiting us from the US. Their family shifted to US about four years back.. She was all praises for USA.. good schooling (her son is doing well there), supermarkets, convenience of life. She was most impressed by the cleanliness and “well-behaved” people around. She kept on talking about the messy roads and unclean environment in India. I was just about to get curious but when all my curiosity was thrown out of the window. She was feeding her small boy a banana.. and I was driving. While bickering about India, she folded the banana peel, opened the window and threw it on the road!! Whats wrong with people? No one can help such people.. It’s a hand-and-mind coordination problem I guess..!


ratna said...

ewwww..people like ur aunt really bother me. She wouldn't have thrown the banana peel out the window here or she would have been fined $500. Yeah india is not as clean, but don't make the problem worse. I'm sorry - hypocrisy is a pet peeve of mine =)

ratna said...

Wow! Delhi Metro rocks! The cleanliness is all due to the slippery slope theory. When people see an area dirty and thrashed, then it's "okay" in their minds to worsen the problem.

WRT ur aunt...ewww...hypocrites bother me!!

Anonymous said...

Delhi metro sucks...
Since the Noida line has been opened, there r lots of problems...trains not coming on time, stopping unnecessarily for more time at each station & today it was a height.... had to wait for 1 hr to board a train frm Dwarka Sector-9