The state government and Kolkata Metro authorities on Friday said e-passes would be mandatory for entering stations, said officials. The announcement came a day after the administration said train services were likely to resume from September 14.
“The state government has proposed developing a system to issue e-pass for entering metro stations, which was explained by the developer to the committee. They have sought certain information from Metro to facilitate the same, which will be provided by Metro Railways,” Metro Chief Public Relations Officer Indrani Banerjee said after a meeting held at Metro Bhavan.
The e-passes will help the authorities regulate the number of commuters as more than 45,000 passengers a day cannot be allowed to travel because Covid-19 restrictions.
Officials said passengers would have to download the Kolkata Metro Rail app on their phones, and book their e-passes minimum four to six hours in advance. Those who do not have smart cards, without which travel will not be allowed, can book an e-pass and buy the card at the station. About 4,000 such passes are likely to be issued every hour. According to sources, trains may start operating only from 8 am, and will run every 12 minutes.
Sanitisation tunnels and automatic thermal scanners will be installed in stations. Sources said Kolkata Police would man the entry and exit points of stations. According to officials, special trains may be operated for examinees on September 13.
Late last month, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, in its Unlock-4 guidelines, allowed Metro rail services to resume across India in a graded manner from September 7. On the basis of those guidelines, the West Bengal government issued an order allowing Kolkata Metro to reopen from September 8 as total lockdown will be in place the day before. However, according to both the state administration and the Metro authorities, it is tough to restart full operations from September 8.
Passengers will be encouraged to recharge smart cards online to avoid long queues at ticket counters. “Tokens will not be issued for the time being. Counters will be kept open for passengers to buy or recharge smart cards. However, to avoid queues, online recharge of cards will be encouraged,” Banerjee had said earlier.
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