Starting Sunday, the Central Railway and the Western Railway will run an additional 610 local services in Mumbai, increasing daily services from 1,410 to 2,020. The announcement comes two days after the Maharashtra government wrote to the general managers of CR and WR proposing that the general public be allowed to travel by Mumbai local trains during non-peak hours.
The additional services that will ply Sunday onwards are still restricted only for essential service workers, and at specified hours of the day, women commuters. A decision about opening the local train services — closed to the public at large — for all is expected on Monday, railway officials said.
The move comes as the government has included more categories of workers in essential services, and opened up the trains for women commuters, leading to crowding in the limited number of local services.
A senior CR official said, “We are working on a model to make sure that passengers don’t have problems while commuting in the local trains. To make sure social distancing is maintained in local trains, we are increasing the services with respect to the number of passengers allowed to board the local services.” He said that 2,020 services on WR and CR can easily accommodate over 25 lakh passengers daily.
Since March, local services were shut for general public to control the spread of the coronavirus. Since July, after getting permission from the central government, Indian Railways and Maharashtra government, both CR and WR have been increasing the daily services on the suburban network month by month.
Railway officials earlier said they were ready to resume local train services for everyone but needed to get an approval from the Railway Ministry.
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