Going to a mall to have a meal, watch a movie or simply hang out with family and friends are some of the usual Sunday activities of Delhiites. But this Sunday, a polling day in Delhi and Gurgaon, meant that the malls of these cities were closed till 6pm. And for people across NCR, all roads seemed to lead to Noida as people flocked to the malls there. Noida malls reported an increase in footfall, with restaurants and cinemas experiencing near-full occupancy. People were left to jostle for space to park cars and the waiting period for cabs was significantly higher.
Noida malls see a bigger crowd
With their counterparts in Delhi and Gurgaon shut for more than half a day, malls in Noida reaped benefits. A Gardens Galleria Mall and The Great India Place spokesperson said, “The footfall at our malls was 30% more than what it is on regular weekends.” A spokesperson of DLF Mall of India, said, “Around 10-12K more people visited our mall this Sunday.” The staff of Logix City Center Mall and Wave Mall also said that they saw a 20-30% more footfall. A security guard at Logix told us, “There was no dull minute in the mall today (Sunday) it has been overcrowded throughout the day.”
Mall-goers said that as they knew that Noida malls will be packed, many of them decided to travel by cabs instead of their personal vehicles.
‘Only front row seats available at cinema halls’
As the cinema halls were also closed till evening in Delhi and Gurgaon, moviegoers were left with the only option of heading to Noida. Yogesh Raizada, Corporate Head, Wave Cinemas, said, “Most of the cinema halls in Noida had 90-95% occupancy because the cinemas in Delhi and Gurgaon were shut till evening.”
Richa Khopkar, a homemaker and Rajouri Garden resident, said, “We thought of watching a movie together with our kids to celebrate our day off, but all the cinema halls were closed in Delhi, so we came to Noida. But there were only front row seats available, so ultimately, we dropped the movie plan.”
Long waiting period at restros
Most of the restaurants in Noida were packed on Sunday afternoon with a one to one-and-half-hour waiting period. A spokesperson of a restro in DLF Mall of India said, “We had 100% occupancy on Sunday, with at least one hour waiting.” A staff member at the Food Court in Logix Mall said, “The waiting hours got longer in the afternoon and the place remained crowded till late evening.” Vivek George, an education counsellor who lives in Tagore Garden, told us, “We checked but there was no online reservation system available in the mall restros. When we went to the mall, we were turned away from five restaurants as the waiting period was too long. Finally, we decided to have lunch at one restro where we had to wait for 30 minutes.”
Booking cabs, finding parking space were no easy task
Mall-goers said that as they knew that Noida malls will be packed, many of them decided to travel by cabs instead of their personal vehicles. MK Khanna, a medical firm owner from Sohna Road, said, “I knew that malls will be packed on Sunday in Noida as people will flock to them from all across NCR. But I didn’t realise that it will be so bad. To avoid parking hassles we took a cab to travel to and from Gurgaon, but then it took over 30 minutes to book one cab.” He added, “While the whole route was not crowded, but entering Noida from Delhi took us over 20 minutes due to heavy traffic.”
Those who were travelling in their cars had to struggle to find parking spaces. Kushagra, a manager at a food delivery service in Delhi, said, “We visited a
mall in Noida this Sunday but had to park our car at another venue nearby. The mall had long queues and we didn’t want to wait for an hour to park the vehicle.”