As the Delhi Metro resumed service after over five months on Monday, the economy it sustains – small shops, kiosks, street vendors, rickshaws, autorickshaws – returned as well.
How did they do on the first day back in business. We travelled on the metro from Malviya Nagar to Rajeev Chowk to get a sense.
There were very few commuters compared to the days before India went into lockdown in late March. Most of those we spoke with said they had taken the metro because it was more affordable than other means of transport. They neither had enough money to spend on vendors and shops outside the stations nor the inclination to do so for fear of contracting coronavirus.
At the Rajeev Chowk station, one of the capital’s busiest, vendors and autorickshaw drivers confirmed that commuters were largely keeping their distance from them.
Many of the people whose livelihoods are dependent on the metro commuters went back to their villages and hometowns after the lockdown was imposed; those who stayed put borrowed money from friends and family to tide over. They returned when the government announced the resumption of the metro service.
But if their first day back in business is anything to go by, they said, it will take a long time before they begin earning anywhere near as much as they did before the pandemic.
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