What's with the Climate?

Voices of a Subcontinent grappling with Climate Change

Delhi Metro: How Do I Love Thee?

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Let me count the ways!

1. The emissions reductions
There is a reason I’m posting this love letter to WWTC. The Delhi Metro’s emission reductions have been certified by the CDM, confirming that from 2004-2007 the regenerative breaking systems on Delhi Metro Rail’s trains prevented emissions of 90,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide – like taking 16,000 cars off the road. And that’s only the breaks! It doesn’t even count how many cars it has actually taken off the road.
2.The Health
It’s not only that I believe the metro keeps fewer autorickshaws and cars on the road, thus keeping more black carbon and particulates out of the air, but also that it makes its riders healthier too! I walk to the metro, kilometers sometimes, and up these delightful stairs and I feel more fit for it.
3. The Safety
Moving to Delhi has made me afraid of 3 things I used to love: men, dogs and buses. Buses are worth fearing not only because the old blue line buses kill 100 people every year in pedestrian accidents, but also because buses feature crowds of men acting like dogs. Worst of all worlds. I’ve never ridden a bus without getting groped once. Enter: the women’s car of the metro. Not only is it a place of fantastic color and great shoes, but there is a community here. We can fix our hair, nurse our babies, giggle. Things you’d never do in the presence of men! And, best of all, we can ride grope-free.
4. The Miracle
In all the sacred places of India, from the glaciers that feed the river Ganga to the Buddha’s bodhi tree, people litter. And yet, in the miracle of miracles, no one does in the Delhi Metro. No one.
5. The speed
The fact that my commute is cut in half is enough to love it. The fact that my commute is cut to a 10th during peak traffic is enough to bless it. The metro has changed a three hour commute to one that is less than an hour for those crossing the city’s longest points, and that, for less than 30 Rs ($0.67)
6. The speed, Redux
It’s not just the speed of the rails but the speed of construction and completion. Some people ask why I stay in Delhi after 3.5 years of madness, and my only response is — after living on top of a metro construction site for 2 years, I’m certainly going to stay around to enjoy it for a while. So, it took 3 years of long nights for the workers and the residents, but for 120 miles of track, that’s not bad. On time and under budget? Who does that?!
7. The community
The Delhi metro is the most democratic spot in the city — business men side by side with labourers. I mean, there are 1.5 million people who ride it every day. That’s ten percent of Delhi’s population! It’s possible because the metro connects important business hubs more quickly than a car can, while also providing one of the lowest costs ways to cross the city. 15 miles of ride for $.67? That’s democratic.
8. The Breadth
Over the river and through the woods — literally. It reaches 4 of Delhi’s satellite cities, most of which required at least 3 buses (and 3 state lines) to move between before the metro’s construction.
9. The cool cool air
The metro is literally the most comfortable place in this city from May to July. Nothing beats an efficiently airconditioned underground labyrinth of trains, coffee shops, and samosa sellers!

10. Everything That’s More Than I Can Count

There’s so much that I love about the Delhi Metro that if I didn’t know how many people walked through these doors every day, I would kiss the floor every time I entered it. It has changed this city for the better a million times over. I’d write more, but my ride’s over. Time to thank the Metro for my short commute!


Author: Caroline Howe

Caroline Howe explores how to get more people excited about sustainability, through education, new technology, financial tools, and community engagement. She's particularly passionate about engaging young people in developing community based solutions to environmental challenges. This has taken her to five continents, working with her start-up, Loop Solutions, as well as with NGOs, youth groups, companies, UN agencies, and a ton of fantastic youth leaders.

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