With the Centre allowing gradual resumption of metro train services across the country under ‘Unlock 4.0’ from September 7, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri announced standard operating procedures (SOPs) for metro operations.
Puri 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, 2020. Besides mandatory wearing of masks and thermal screening at entry gates, the Union Minister said frequency of trains should be regulated to avoid passenger crowding at stations and in coaches.
Delhi Metro will reopen in three stages starting September 7, with authorities deciding to allow trains operations on Yellow Line and Gurugram’s Rapid Line on Day 1.
Metro stations in Covid-19 containment zones will, however, remain closed. Metro services were suspended in late March when the government announced a nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Metro services SOP, guidelines:
*Stations/ entry-exit gates in containment zones to be closed.
*In order to ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains to be done.
*Wearing of face mask to be mandatory for all passengers and staff. Metro rail corporations may make arrangements for supply of masks on payment basis to the persons arriving without mask.
*Only asymptomatic persons to be allowed to travel after thermal screening at entry into the stations.
*Provision of sanitizers to be made at entry into the stations for use by passengers. Sanitisation of all areas having human interface via equipment, train, working area, lift, escalators, handrail, AFC gate, toilets needs to be done at regular intervals.
*Use of Smart Card and cashless/online transactions to be encouraged. Tokens and paper slips/ticket to be used with proper sanitisation.
*Adequate dwell time at stations to be provided to enable smooth boarding/deboarding ensuring social distancing. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing.
*Passengers to be advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick scanning.
*Operation of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system as per the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) & Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) guidelines. Intake of fresh air in air-conditioning system to be increased to the extent possible.
*Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign to be launched for passenger and staff through electronic/print/social media, poster, banner, hoarding, website etc.
*Metro rail corporations to keep close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowd outside station and to deal with contingencies.
Based on above guidelines, Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOPs. Government of Maharashtra has decided not to resume operation of metro during September, 2020.