Delhi: Your Metro travel experience to change drastically
Starting Monday, Delhi Metro will resume operations in a graded manner, more than five months after it was shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, the official Twitter account of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) posted dos and don'ts for passengers and shed light on preparations. Till September 10, trains will run between 7 am and 11 am; and from 4 pm-8 pm.
Rather than allowing all lines to function at once, authorities decided to operate the Metro, the lifeline of the National Capital, in a graded manner. In phase 1, i.e. from September 7 to 10, only the Yellow Line and Gurugram Rapid Metro will be functional. The Yellow Line runs between Samaypur Badli and Huda City Center. The Blue and Pink Lines will be made operational from September 9.
To note, the Blue Line connects Dwarka Sector 21 and Noida Electronic City, and the Pink Line Majlis Park and Shiv Vihar. Starting September 10, services will resume on the Red Line (connecting Rithala and Shaheed Sthal), Green Line (connecting Inderlok, Brigadier Hoshiar Singh, and Kirti Nagar), and Violent Line (that runs between Kashmere Gate and Raja Nahar Singh).
From September 11, the timings of the Metro will be increased. They will run from 7 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 10 pm. The Magenta Line (running between Janakpuri West and Botanical Garden) and Grey Line (connecting Dwarka and Najafgarh) will also start then. From September 12, Delhi Metro is expected to be fully operational at pre-lockdown timings.
Initially, only a handful of entry and exit gates will be functional. As per TOI, approximately 260 entrances will work. DMRC said it will update details about functional gates on its website. Wearing face covers at all times is a must and a fine of Rs. 500 will be levied on offenders. DMRC has advised passengers to download the Aarogya Setu app.
All passengers will have to undergo thermal screening and hand sanitization at the entry point itself. DMRC has installed "auto thermal screening cum hand sanitizer machines" at 45 major stations. Only asymptomatic travelers will be allowed to board the trains. Social distancing has to be followed at all times, DMRC said, adding that the stations have been duly marked to aid in this process.
Announcements pertaining to COVID-19-related measures will be made regularly and at prominent stations, LED screens will run short awareness films about COVID-19. DMRC said a total of 800 personnel have been deployed to ensure cleanliness and orderliness and the numerous CCTV cameras will ensure crowd management. All human contact areas, like lift buttons, rails, will be disinfected every four hours.
Tokens have been discontinued and travel will only be allowed through smart cards, which will be recharged through digital means. The complaint boxes will be discontinued, for now, DMRC added. Passengers have been asked to carry pocket-sized sanitizers and minimum luggage. While the parking facilities will function, feeder buses won't be operational. Outlets inside stations can operate but will have to adhere to guidelines.
Inside the Metro, passengers will be permitted to sit only on alternate seats. DMRC has pasted nearly 50,000 social distancing stickers inside coaches. The dwelling time of trains has been increased by ten seconds to allow passengers to alight and board comfortably. Trains will be sanitized at terminal stations and their doors will remain open to let fresh air inside, tweeted DMRC.
While extensive guidelines have been released, authorities are expecting passengers to behave responsibly. The Urban Development Ministry said that the trains will not stop at stations where commuters are found violating guidelines. Metro is resuming at a time when coronavirus cases are surging again in Delhi after a brief lull. At the time of press, Delhi had recorded 179,569 cases and 4,481 deaths.