Noida: Hundreds of city dwellers are suffering due to the Aqua Line metro ‘skipping’ 10 stations during peak hours, office bearers of residents’ groups claimed on Sunday (February 28), as they held a protest against the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) here.

Among the stations skipped by the metro train during the peak hours (8 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 8 pm on weekdays) are Sector 101 and Sector 50, which is dedicated to the transgender community, they said.

The NMRC, which manages the Aqua Line, had started ‘Fast Trains’ from February 8 which skip certain ‘low-ridership’ stations during peak hours with an objective to reduce the travel time between terminus stations in Noida and Greater Noida by nine minutes.

Around three dozen people, including office-bearers of residents’ bodies like the Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (NEFOWA), the Noida Federation of Apartment Owners Association (NOFAA) and social activists, on Sunday afternoon staged a protest at the Sector 101 metro station, demanding a rollback of the NMRC move.

The stations skipped during peak hours are: Sector – 50, Sector – 101, Sector – 81, Sector – 83, Sector – 143, Sector – 144, Sector – 145, Sector – 146, Sector – 147 and Sector – 148.

“We need to strike a balance between convenience and speed. A nine minutes faster journey does not give any significant advantage to commuters but it definitely causes inconvenience to several commuters (whose stations are being skipped),” NEFOWA president Rajiva Singh said.

Citing the issues, he said many high-rise apartment residents have purchased flats keeping in mind the closeness of the metro station. There are many women commuters during peak hours, and students as well as senior citizens have to bear the brunt of this decision, he added.

NEFOWA general secretary Shweta Bharti said the residents have been raising the issue for the past two-three days but there has been no response from officials concerned.

“Now the metro does not stop at key stations like Sector 101 and Sector 50 during peak hours. There are dozens of residential societies in the vicinity of these stations where commuters are facing trouble because they have to go to other stations now,” Bharti said.

She added that the problem would amplify in the coming days as schools and offices are reopening after a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The protestors also alleged that they were not allowed to travel from Sector 101 metro station to Sector 50 metro station by the metro where they wanted to hand over a memorandum to NMRC officials and take up the issue with them.

“Our demonstration was peaceful. We would have purchased metro tickets and travelled like ordinary commuters but still we were not allowed,” Bharti claimed.

There was no response immediately by the NMRC over the protest on Sunday.

The Aqua Line connects Noida and Greater Noida through 21 stations, covering a distance of 29.7 km, according to officials.

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