“The way commuters use the facilities, leaving the toilets dirty and napkins scattered around has to change! We only want the people to change their attitude, be cooperative and responsible. We will continue to clean as it is our responsibility.”
– P. K. Singh
Joint GM, C&S – Delhi Metro Rail Corporation
According to a Survey Report of June 2014, Delhi Metro is the world’s 13th largest metro system in terms of length with a network consisting of seven lines serving 139 stations. It boast of the longest tracks in the country and attracts over 1.2 billion commuters.
The Delhi climate being dusty has its impact on metro cleaning. “For instance, after wet mopping, the metro gets dusty within an hour. We conduct extensive cleaning between 12am and 5am. Cleaning has been outsourced and the DMRC team of supervisors try and bring out the best from the staff. About 10% of the total cost is attributed towards cleaning and overall maintenance of the train coaches, electrical systems, AC systems and others.”
DMRC believes that “if the attitudes of commuters towards keeping surroundings clean changes, the overall maintenance costs can be reduced to 5% of revenue consumption.”
Even though there is prohibition on consumption of paan and ghutka within the premises, the attitude of the commuters has remained the same. Interestingly among the 50% of the commuters who violate the prohibition also include the educated blue collar. “They spit wherever they feel like. Removing these stains is difficult because as it dries up it gets ingrained into the marble floors and walls.”
The high end commuters comprising of students and other people chew and throw bubble gums anywhere. The gums get stuck to the floor of the train and also on the station platforms made of granite flooring. Once gums get hardened, removing them from the floors is a real task.
DMRC gets down to painting the entire metro as an essential part of maintaining neatness and cleanliness. However, with the shoe mark stains left behind by people leaning/standing against the walls and other oil stains, make the metro look ugly.
Delhi Metro has won awards for eco-friendly practices from organisations, including the UN, RINA (Italian certification) and the International Organization for Standardization. It has become the second metro in the world, after the New York City Subway to be ISO14001 certified.
There are initiatives taken by Delhi metro towards water conservation and eco friendly practices. Waterless urinals have been set up and wastewater is recycled back into the toilets for flushing. Water treatment plants have been set up in most of the stations. Further, biodegradable chemicals are used to keep toilets clean.
“We also harvest rainwater, which again can be used for flushing purposes in the toilets. We have made an automated plant that is specially built to make sure the metro is cleaned with less water and detergent.”
In order to increase public awareness on hygiene, pamphlets are distributed. “Toilets are given more attention and a person has been deputed to make time-to-time checks and take odour control measures.
“We have devised so many parameters and attributes to maintain the toilets clean and eventually people will get aware about maintaining cleanliness. We will be coming up with more strict rules and penalties against people littering in the metro soon.” The cleaning chemicals and machines deployed for cleaning are supplied by Diversey, Eureka Forbes, Roots and Karcher.
“We are planning to give some of the stations for ‘adoption’ whereby the entire maintenance, hygiene and cleanliness will be taken care by the adopting company. Eureka Forbes has proposed to adopt two or three stations and Diversey too has shown inclination to do the same.” It is more of a technical outsourcing.
“Considering the fact that Delhi being among modern cities, maintaining cleanliness becomes top priority. There will be more commuters wanting to use the facilities if Metro is kept clean.”
DRMC is conducting customer satisfaction survey to know the perception of commuters. The feedback, according to DMRC, would enable the authorities to strategize and uplift the level of cleanliness.