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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Mumbai train services resume, record sale of monthly passes, passenger surge expected

On August 8, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced the reopening of train services from August 15 for those who have been fully vaccinated and completed 14 days after receiving the second dose of anti-Covid vaccine.

Written by Vallabh Ozarkar | Mumbai |
Updated: August 17, 2021 1:13:40 pm
Mumbai train services resume, record sale of monthly passes, passenger surge expectedA queue to collect train passes at Nerul station in Navi Mumbai on Monday. (Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

TICKET COUNTERS across stations in Mumbai’s suburban line were crowded on Monday as people lined up to buy monthly passes with offices expected to resume on Tuesday after an extended weekend holiday.

The Railways on Tuesday sold total 37,000 passes, the highest in a single day since the state government announced its intent to allow fully vaccinated people to board suburban trains in Mumbai. Of the total passes issued on Monday till evening, Western Railway sold 11,876 passes, while the Central Railway sold 25,124 passes.

On August 8, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced the reopening of train services from August 15 for those who have been fully vaccinated and completed 14 days after receiving the second dose of anti-Covid vaccine.

The state, however, had said only those whose vaccination certificates were verified would be eligible to receive the travel pass. From August 11, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), along with other local civil bodies in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region area, had set up around of 420 helpdesks at 108 railway stations to facilitate offline verification of vaccination certificates.

The authorities had also introduced a portal where people can get their vaccine certificates verified and then avail of the monthly passes by furnishing the certificates at the ticket counter. So far, over 1.8 lakh fully vaccinated people got their vaccination certificates verified.

While most people were happy with the resumed train services, many expressed disappointment as they could only buy monthly passes instead of single journey tickets under the new order.

“We are happy that we are allowed to travel in the local train as it will save our time and money. But they should allow us to buy the daily ticket too. Most of us have to travel on different lines every day. We cannot buy monthly passes of all the lines,” said R Patel, a trader.

Train services on Monday were regular, and limited crowd was witnessed as it was a public holiday. Railway officials are expecting a surge of passengers from Tuesday.

Around 18.46 lakh passengers travelled on the Western and Central railways lines on Sunday when the train services were opened to all. On an average, over 16 lakh people travel on Western Railway and over 20-22 lakh people on the Central Railway lines.

“As per our assessment, over two lakh more people will start travelling in local trains from Tuesday. We have already increased 173 trains from Monday to ensure no crowding,” said a railway official.

Considering resumption of the suburban trains services for those who completed both doses of vaccine from Sunday, the Railway Protection Force, Mumbai Division of Railways made extensive preparations in coordination with the Government Railway Police (GRP) and other departments of the Railways.

According to the Western Railway, around 550 RPF personnel have been deployed across the suburban stations of the Western Railway line, from Churchgate to Dhahanu Road.

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