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Friday, October 30, 2020

Delhi Metro struggles with social distancing during peak hours

Metro operations resumed on September 7 after remaining suspended for over five months due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: October 2, 2020 9:53:04 am
Delhi metro, Delhi metro Covid guidelines, Delhi metro rules, Delhi metro coronavirus, covid-19 Delhi metro, delhi metro social distancing, delhi city newsCommuters line up outside Central Secretariat station. (Express photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Delhi Metro is struggling to maintain social distancing inside trains during peak hours, particularly on five stretches, DMRC said in an advisory Thursday, requesting people to stagger their travel timings.

It said stretches on Red, Green, Violet and Blue lines are witnessing 100% occupancy during morning and evening peak hours under the current arrangements where alternate seats are left vacant and a limited number of people allowed to commute while standing. “By 100% occupancy, we do not mean coaches are getting occupied like before. What is happening is that during peak hours, trains plying on these stretches are carrying maximum number of passengers possible under prevailing standard operating procedure,” said a Delhi Metro spokesperson.

Metro operations resumed on September 7 after remaining suspended for over five months due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Services opened in a graded manner, and full scale operations were restored on September 12. However, services are governed by a new SOP which mandates several restrictions to ensure social distancing inside trains and station areas. Consequently, passenger capacity has come down significantly.

“In recent days, it has been observed that certain sections of the Metro network are showing a trend where occupancy is touching the 100% mark during morning and evening peak hours. During off-peak hours, occupancy in the same sections is in the range of 30-50% only, leaving ample scope for people to stagger their travel from peak hours to the extent possible and have hassle-free travel with social distancing in place,” the DMRC advisory said.

Metro said that such instances of crowding may increase travel time as authorities will have to impose further restrictions on entry to stations.

Delhi Metro has been running trains at peak hour frequency through the day, doing away with the concept of off-peak hour frequency, which used to be in place between 11 am to 4 pm. So, between 8 am and 8 pm, trains are available at peak hour frequency range of 2 mins 45 secs to 6 minutes. “Therefore, general public is once again requested to ‘break the peak’ by staggering their travel timings to decongest peak hours, and avail additional capacity available during off-peak hours for their own convenience and safety amidst the pandemic,” said DMRC chief spokesperson Anuj Dayal.

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