Metro services in Mumbai – shut for more than six months because of the coronavirus lockdown – will reopen on Monday with the Ghatkopar-Versova Metro One line – which was the only functional line before the nationwide lockdown in March – resuming operations.
SOPs (standard operating protocols) for passengers, who will be subjected to thermal screening on entry to stations, will include social distancing – visuals from inside the coaches show stickers that highlight where you can sit or stand – and the use of face masks at all times – whether in trains or on the platform.
Other SOPs will include limiting passengers on each four-coach train to 300 (against a maximum of 1,500), an emphasis on cashless transactions when purchasing tickets and maintaining a constant temperature (between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius) inside the coaches.
In addition, only 200 trains will be run between 8 am and 8.30 every day; pre-Covid as many as 450 trains were run every day.
“We have allowed only 300 people to travel at one time to take care of social distancing. As crowds increase, things will change. Also, instead of giving tokens, people will get paper tickets so risk of infection is limited. We also have many facilities for online payment and people will be encouraged to use this,” Abhay Kumar Mishra, CEO of Mumbai Metro, said.
The decision to restart metro services in the city was taken earlier this week, with the Uddhav Thackeray government hoping that this will ease pressure on conventional public transport mediums – like local buses – as Mumbai tries to return to normal amid the Covid pandemic.
Metro services across India have restarted in phases following a green light from the centre last month. Delhi Metro – the largest network in the country – began limited operations on September 7 with around 7,500 passengers in the first shift.
Similarly, metro services in several other cities – including Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Hyderabad and Kolkata – have also begun operations following months of shutdown.
Maharashtra remains the state worst affected by the Covid pandemic. The state reported over 10,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to health ministry data this morning.
The good news, though, is that the active case load dropped by around 4,400 after more than 14,000 recoveries were recorded in the same period.
Overall India has logged nearly 75 lakh cases, of which 1.14 lakh are deaths. However, the central government on Sunday said the country had “crossed the Covid peak”.