A 28-year-old woman, a diploma holder in engineering from a government polytechnic college, drove Chennai's first metro train on Monday. The Chennai Metro Rail service was flagged off from Alandur station by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. The whole event was telecast live from the state secretariat.
Preethi drove the train for a 10 km stretch from Alandur to Koyambedu.
"I am excited, my daughter's dream of becoming a loco pilot of Metro Rail has come true," Preethi's father R Anbu told PTI. Anbu said his daughter had dreamt of becoming a loco pilot ever since the metro rail project had begun to take shape.
"She quit her first job, applied for a job in Chennai Metro rail, and she was the first woman to get selected," he said. She was trained for a year and half along with others in Chennai and Delhi. "Three other women joined as pilots after her and I am happy that she was successful."
Alandur is the biggest metro station in Chennai and was full of enthusiastic city residents excited to board the first train.
"I wanted to board the first metro train, I hope metro makes travel easier and a pleasure," said K Ramesh a young executive.
People posted photos and videos of their experience on the metro train, which will run every 10 minutes from 6 am to 10 pm every day. Even the city's IPL team welcomed the metro service on Twitter.
Similar to metros in other states, people in Chennai can get their own metro cards to ride in the train regularly.
While some people were pleased that all signs on the metro are in Tamil, which is more widely spoken locally in Tamil Nadu than Hindi, others gave it a thumbs down.
Why is tamil everywhere
No hindi or English #ChennaiMetro— Aryan Anmol (@iaryananmol) June 29, 2015
The fare chart will vary between Rs 10 and 40.
13 kms in 20 mins, w/ air conditioning - 40 bucks is not bad! MTC buses would take 45 mins minimum. #ChennaiMetro— Aska (@askabuska) June 29, 2015
Here's a video of the trip, in case you missed the first ride.