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India Metro rail services resuming next week: A complete guide about passenger rules

This is another step towards the unlocking process in India. The Metro rail services are resuming from next Monday, i.e. September 7. Though the pandemic is raging across the nation with almost 75,000 or more cases daily, there was no option to the Centre but to allow reopening the business and transportation given the economy gasping for breath. In this article, we shall talk about all aspects of reopening of Metro services in different cities amid the pandemic.

Here’s the complete guide about the Metro rail services resuming from Monday

1. So, what has the Centre announced?

The Centre has given its nod for the resumption of Metro services from next week. After more than four months, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi and Chennai Metro services will resume from Monday in a phased manner, though metro stations in containment zones will remain closed. According to a report, the Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) Managing Director Mangu Singh released a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) on Wednesday.

According to the new rules, masks are mandatory for passengers and those without it won’t be allowed to board the trains. Thermal screening will be carried out outside each station. Puri said that symptomatic persons will be directed to go to Covid care facilities for tests etc. It is likely that Metro rail corporations might also arrange for supply of masks at the station so that passengers can buy and use. Also, the minister said, in case congestions were noticed at metro stations, the decision to ply trains will be reviewed.

2. What are the standard guidelines?

A) The frequency of trains to be regulated to avoid crowding at stations and also in trains.

B) In order to ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains will be done and passengers must follow the rules.

C) All passengers and staff must wearing face mask during journey, while at station, platform and all related areas.

D) Only asymptomatic passengers will be allowed to travel after thermal screening following their entry into the stations. Symptomatic persons will be directed to go to nearby Covid care centre.

E) All passengers and staff must download Aarogya Setu App.

F) Provision of sanitisers will be made at entry into the stations for use by passengers.

G) Use of Smart Card and cashless/online transactions to be encouraged. Tokens, paper slips/ticket to be used with proper sanitisation. However, this rule varies from region to region. For example, in Kolkata, only those with smartcard will be allowed to travel.

H) Adequate dwell time at stations will be provided to ensure smooth boarding and social distancing.

I) Trains won’t halt at stations that come under containment zones and with high load of cases. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing.

J) Fresh air in air-conditioning system will be increased as much as possible.

3. How will the Metro ride experience be for a passenger in new normal set-up?

As a passenger, you will be directed to enter the station complex from designated gates. After frsking and thermal checking by CRPF jawans, you shall enter the platform. There will be no ticket or token system like pre-Covid times. There will be frequent announcements urging people to adhere to social distancing for one. Only three people will be allowed inside elevators at once. One can expect more private security guards around.

The public toilets are supposed to be sanitised more frequently, along with areas such as lift buttons and handrails. Train frequency will be less initially and scaled up based on demand. Alternate seats will have to be left vacant and a distance of one metre will have to be maintained between two persons standing. Currently, around 250-300 commuters travel, on an average, inside every coach. The new norms imply that an eight-coach train, which can carry upto 2,400 commuters, will ply with not more than 500 people. Trains will stop for up to 30 seconds more than usual at stations to ensure social distancing among passengers boarding or alighting.

4. Different rules for different cities

The above rules are applicable to all Metro services across the country. However, specific rules and regulations will vary from city to city. Here are the major guidelines of each city

Delhi

In a report, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Chief Mangu Singh said only the Yellow Line from Samaypur Badli to Huda City Centre would be made operational from September 7 and normal services would resume from September 12. “In first stage, Delhi Metro services will operate in two shifts — 7-11 am and 4-8 pm. In phase 1, we are planning to start Yellow Line from Samaypur Badli to Huda City Centre. In phase 2, on Sept 9, we will start three more lines, Blue Line, Pink Line and Gurgaon Line,” he said.

Smartcards, e-payment for tickets, thermal screening are mandatory. Alternate seats will have to be left vacant and a distance of one metre will have to be maintained between two persons standing. Moreover, trains will halt with all the doors open for a considerable time at terminal stations to allow fresh air to enter the coaches.

Kolkata

In Kolkata, Metro Railway services will be allowed in a graded manner from September 8. Downloading of Aarogya Setu app before entering a station, use of smart cards are mandatory rules here. Trains will run every 15 to 20 minutes.

Mumbai

Metro rail services will continue to remain suspended even though the Maharashtra government has permitted inter-district travel on special long-distance trains.

Chennai

Chennai metro services will be resumed from September 7. Only three passengers will be allowed to sit in a seven-seater bench inside a coach and only one passenger in other seats. Only four people will be allowed to use the escalator at once and passengers will be screened through thermal guns and hand sanitisers will be provided. Trains will run every 10 minutes during peak hours and 15 minutes during non-peak hours. Here foot-operated lifts have been installed to avoid contact with the elevator buttons by fingers.

Bengaluru

Bengaluru Metro will also resume from September 7. To maintain social distancing, the number of commuters will be restricted to one-third of capacity in a six-coach train while thermal checks will be carried out at the entrance. Aarogya Setu app and e-tickets compulsory here.

Kochi

Kochi Metro Rail Limited has decided to run trains every 20 minutes, with operations to resume at 7 am in the morning and the last trip from both Aluva and Thykoodam will be at 8 pm. To allow proper ventilation, trains will be stopped at stations for a minimum of 20 seconds. At the terminating stations, trains will stop for five minutes and doors will be kept open.

Hyderabad

Hyderabad Metro will also be on track from September 7. “Enough care will be taken to follow proper sanitisation, maintain social distancing in metro trains & stations, enough ventilation, pumping more fresh air into trains, improving air conditioning mechanism, etc,” said Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited’s (HMRL) managing director NVS Reddy in a report.

So to those planning to board the services from Monday, just follow the rules set by the authority and cooperate with the Metro management for a safe and successful journey.

 

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