The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which has sounded off its staff that services may begin on a short notice of “24-48 hours”, has decided to deploy full manpower across its network from Tuesday and begin preparations to run “double headway on all lines”. Double headway implies that the frequency of trains will be high.
The Indian Express has learnt that the Metro plans to deploy customer facilitation agents at the station gates for thermal scanning of commuters. Token vending machines (TVMs) are likely to be disabled to discourage cash transactions, except in “unavoidable circumstances”.
As the first step towards resuming services, DMRC has decided to deploy full manpower, including station controllers and housekeeping staff, from Tuesday, sources said. Cleaning of stations has also started.
Customer relations staffers have also been asked to show up for briefings on the new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that will govern services, as reported by The Indian Express on May 15.
“Frequency of trains across the lines on the first day of resumption of services will be at the maximum possible extent… It will be done for checking out the operational readiness perhaps. TVMs are likely to be disabled so that tokens and cash are not accepted. Overall, cash transactions are likely to be phased out entirely for the time being, except in unavoidable circumstances such as paying fines. Staffers have been told that services are likely to begin on a short notice of 24-48 hours,” said sources.
Metro, like flight services which resumed on Monday, was under the list of restricted activities across India under the latest lockdown guidelines of the MHA. The Centre has, however, already shared with Metro operators across the country the SOP following which services will resume.
Under the SOP, the trains will stop for up to 30 seconds more than usual at stations to ensure social distancing among passengers boarding or alighting.
Inside the trains, seating capacity will be limited, with ‘do not occupy’ stickers pasted on every alternate seat. Those standing will be expected to maintain a distance of at least a metre among themselves.
The SOP also underlines that “only asymptomatic passengers shall be allowed to enter stations”. It adds that QR code-based tickets be linked with the Aarogya Setu app to ensure only “safe passengers” gain entry into stations once the restrictions on services are lifted. Metro operators have also been directed to make use of “Aarogya Setu App mandatory” for all passengers.
When contacted, a DMRC official said the decision to deploy all staffers is aimed to ensuring preparedness. “However, there are no directions so far from the government on resuming operations,” the official said.
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