With Metro services likely to resume from September 14, special protocols were issued for commuters and staff by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday. However, the authorities will provide special services for NEET examinees on September 13.
The Centre had suspended the services in the last week of March to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection.
The Metro authorities have decided to run special Metro services on September 13, which is a Sunday, for the benefit of NEET candidates. A total of 66 services (33 UP and 33 DN) will be available on that day from 11 am to 7 pm from both ends – Noapara and Kavi Subhash stations. The services will be available in every 15 minutes. No token will be issued to commuters. Only Printed Card Tickets (PCT) will be issued to bona fide candidates and their guardians. Examinees will have to present their bona fide admit cards at the Metro station gates.
The Railway Protection Force with close co-ordination with state police will enforce the rules, including social distancing and thermal scanning, at the stations.
Crowd bumper on tracks
At a time when Kolkata Metro is all set to resume services amid Covid-19 case count still being at an all-time high, crowd management will be the biggest challenge for the authorities. The reduction of carrying capacity in each Metro to ensure social distancing will only add to the woes. However, the state government and Metro authorities have decided to work hand in hand so that services are ran smoothly while abiding by all Covid protocols.
However, stations within containment zone will remain closed. Metros will run from 8 am to 8 pm, with the last train leaving the originating stations at both ends at 7 pm. Services will remain closed on Sundays for thorough cleaning and sanitisation of stations. Besides, thorough sanitisation of rakes will be undertaken in the carsheds during non-revenue hours. All trains will stop at every station, and to avoid rush the stoppage time will be increased from the present 20 seconds to 30 seconds.
On Wednesday, Metro officials along with Manoj Joshi, General Manager of Metro Railway, inspected all the stations between Park Street and Kavi Subhash prior to the resumption of Metro services. He inspected the entry and exit gates of all the stations on this stretch, along with markings made inside the Metro premises and coaches, among others.
According to officials, Metro authorities have been provided with a set of Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs).
Protocol for passengers
As per protocol, passengers having symptoms of fever, cough, cold may not undertake journey. Wearing mask that covers face and nose is mandatory for travelling in Metros.
Passengers shall book their journey slot with one-hour duration by accessing the URL, pathadisha.com/metro. On successful booking of slot, passengers will receive e-pass on their mobile phones with information of time slot, originating and destination stations and passenger’s name. Advance booking of 12 hours has been allowed for e-pass. Entry to Metro stations will be allowed only through verification of e-pass by state police.
Only three passengers will be allowed to use the lift at a given point of time. Passenger queues in front of booking counters shall be ensured with social distancing. Counters will be operated at all the stations only for issue or recharge of smart cards. Passengers need to download Aarogya setu app on their mobile. All food and beverage kiosks at the underground stations will remain closed.
Protocol for Metro coaches
Passengers shall not occupy the seat in the coaches, which will be crossed out.
Protocol for Metro staff
Special protocols have been set for staff to ensure they remain safe on duty. Metro officials will need to show identity cards for entry into stations and will not be required to collect e-pass. Contractual staff engaged in maintenance of various assets of Metro Railway will be allowed entry into the station on the basis of certificate issued by competent authority. Only the north-south section will be operational now. East-West Metro services continue to remain suspended.
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