After nearly over five months, metro services resumed across most cities on Monday amid strict regulations and social distancing and use of masks and face shields by passengers. Metro stations in containment zones, however, remained closed, as per the Centre’s guidelines.
As part of Unlock 4.0, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had announced the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) had said that multi-route metro networks should resume trains from September 7 in a graded manner so that all lines were operational by September 12.
A look at resumption of metro services across the country:
Metros across Delhi witnessed chaos on its opening day after several passengers, mostly in underground stations, faced difficulties purchasing new smart cards or getting them recharged through cashless modes due to network issues.
Tokens are not permitted for travelling in order to prevent transmission of virus through frequent touching. Only smart card holders (including QR code users on Airport Express Line) are permitted to use the rail services.
“I waited for about 10-15 minutes before I could successfully make the payment. Had it been a normal day, it would have led to chaos,” one Parvez Ahmed, who was travelling from Saket to Azadpur, was quoted as saying by PTI.
Besides this, the closure of most entry-exit gates also caused delay and inconvenience.
The services resumed with curtailed operations along the Yellow Line with the first trains departing from Samaypur Badli station to HUDA City Centre station and simultaneously from HUDA City Centre to Samaypur Badli at 7 am.
The trains will run in batches of four-hour each from 7-11 am in the morning and 4-8 pm in the evening.
While sharing a video clip of the first train leaving HUDA City Centre, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said: “We are on our way. It’s been 169 days since we’ve seen you! Travel responsibly and commute if it’s only necessary. #MetroBackOnTrack.”
All stations on the Yellow Line reopened today as none are in proximity to any containment zone, an official said.
— Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (@OfficialDMRC) September 7, 2020
Passengers were permitted entry only after temperature checks with thermal guns and sanitisation of hands.
Besides commuters, Delhi Metro ground staff and Central Industrial Security Force personnel also wore face shields, masks and gloves as preventive measures against the pathogen.
Metro Rail services started on the Purple Line from Byappanahalli station at 8 am towards Mysuru Road and vice versa.
“The six-coach train from Byappanahalli had 12 passengers whereas 15 to 16 passengers boarded the train at the Nayandahalli station on Mysuru Road,” a BMRCL official told PTI.
Services on the Metro Green Line from Yelachenahalli to Nagasandra will start from Wednesday. These trains will operate only for six hours only during peak hours from 8 am to 11 am and 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm till September 10.
From September 11 onwards, the trains will ply on both the lines from 7 am to 9 pm. “The number of commuters allowed in each train is limited to 400 passengers to ensure social distancing norms,” the official said.
Like other cities, the Hyderabad Metro Rail services too resumed operations on the Miyapur-LB Nagar route on Monday after a gap of over five months. “We are happy that we were permitted to resume the metro rail services. We are taking all precautions and are strictly following the Covid-19 guidelines to prevent spreading of the virus in Metro travel,” HMRL Managing Director NVS Reddy told news agency PTI.
Services are being operated from 7 am to noon and 4 pm to 9 pm, he added.
Kochi Metro Rail Limited also resumed services at 7 am with trains scheduled to run every 20 minutes. The last trip will be from both Aluva and Thykoodam will be at 8 pm.
To ensure proper ventilation, trains will be stopped at stations for a minimum of 20 seconds. At terminating stations, trains will be stopped for a minimum of five minutes and doors kept open.
“There is no rush. The services are being carried out adhering to the restrictions to prevent spread of coronavirus,” a Kochi Metro official said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate a new stretch between Thykoodam and Pettah near Tripunithura on Monday afternoon.
While trains services are likely to resume operations from September 14, the state government and Kolkata Metro authorities on Friday said e-passes would be mandatory for entering stations.
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.
“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.
Metro rail services will continue to remain suspended even though the Maharashtra government has permitted inter-district travel on special long-distance trains.
“The inter-district train services will be enabled in the Passenger Reservation System (PRS),” the Central Railway notification stated. Passengers can book tickets from September 2.
So far, long-distance trains were running from the station of origin to destination without any stops in between.
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