Delhi Metro, which accounts for around 389-km of the 700-km odd metro network in the country, will reopen in three stages starting September 7, with authorities deciding to allow trains operations on Yellow Line and Gurugram’s Rapid Line on Day 1.
A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will govern the services under which commuters will have to wear masks, undergo thermal screening at stations, and use only smart cards. Cash transactions will not be allowed inside the stations.
Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and secretary Durga Shankar Mishra told a press conference that trains would skip stations where passengers will be seen violating social distancing norms. DMRC MD Mangu Singh said entry to stations will be allowed through a limited number of gates.
“If there is willful disregard, you have CCTVs, there will be no hesitation (in acting against violators). When a person misbehaves in an aircraft, we put them in no flyers list. I am not making any suggestion to Mangu Singh. As DMRC chief he has full autonomy to do whatever it is. But I think there is also an element of naming and shaming. if an individual’s misbehaviour results in jeopardizing a public utility which is so vital in the life of a city or a country, obviously there is little tolerance for such behaviour,” Puri said.
In case of Delhi Metro, stage 1 will be in force between September 7 and September 10. On September 7, train services will start on Yellow Line and Rapid Line; Blue Line and Pink Line on September 9; Red, Green and Violet on September 10.
Trains will be available between 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 8 pm during this period. Under Stage 2, which will come into effect on September 11, Magenta and Grey Lines would be made operational and service hours extended by two hours each in morning and evening.
From September 12, services will resume in full scale, which is between 6 am and 11 pm, and the airport express line would also open its door.
Among other restrictions, outlined in the SOP, only asymptomatic people will be allowed to enter the stations and those showing symptoms will be advised to go to the nearby Covid centre. The use of Aarogya Setu app will be “encouraged”, it says.
Masks and hand sanitizers will be available at the stations, however, people have been advised to come wearing masks and also carry small tubes of hand sanitizers. The intake of fresh air inside the train coaches will be increased to the fullest extent possible.
“If we find no social distance at stations, trains, or find trains getting congested, we might have no option but to review all arrangements. While we welcome the resumption, which is happening after deep consideration, the catchword is caution and care,” Puri said, adding that the focus of monitoring will be on metro systems with multiple corridors like in Delhi.
DMRC MD Singh said he does not anticipate a significant rush as schools and colleges are closed, many private offices are encouraging work from home and overall mood in the city under which people are venturing out only if needed.
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