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New Delhi Celebrates Subway Opening

From Associated Press

Nearly 1 million curious and excited people packed stations to get a peek and take a ride as this Indian capital’s swank new subway and metro rail system opened Wednesday for regular service.

Tens of thousands of people stood in queues to board the system, which officials hope will relieve chronic congestion in New Delhi, a city of 12 million people and 4 million vehicles.

Officials used radio spots to warn the crowd against unruly behavior. Still, passengers tampered with the automated doors of the train cars, forcing authorities to ground one of the four trains scheduled to operate throughout the day.

Some of the automated ticket machines and entry gates didn’t work, making commuters restless. The trains did not often arrive at the promised 15-minute intervals, and officials blamed the delays on passenger interference.

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The metro could represent a true lifestyle leap for the gritty, traffic-clogged city. Tickets cost up to 16 cents, affordable for ordinary Indians. The five miles that opened Wednesday cover one of New Delhi’s most congested areas, housing a largely poor, working-class population.

The metro currently has six trains with South Korean-made cars and will have 60 by 2005. By then, the system will consist of 37 miles of rail running above and below ground, with up to 2 million riders expected to use the system daily.


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