Delhi Metro set to start; L-G approves Kejriwal government's proposal
Five months after the coronavirus outbreak forced Delhi Metro to shut operations, it will restart from Monday, September 7, as L-G Anil Baijal has approved a proposal of the state government, led by AAP's Arvind Kejriwal, reports said on Wednesday. The trains, seen as Delhi's lifeline, will function with precautions. In the guidelines for Unlock 4.0, the Centre allowed metro trains to run again.
In the last few months, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) posted numerous posts on social media, asserting that it has proper precautions in place to restart operations, but would do so after a green signal from the Centre. As it looks to restart operations in a "changed" Delhi, DMRC has made masks and smart cards mandatory, to promote minimum contact.
The major challenge for the authorities is to maintain AC temperature, to minimize transmission risk. Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot told NDTV, "We are yet to take a decision on what should be the optimum temperature inside the trains." A report in IE said DMRC is looking at increasing temperatures inside coaches and allowing more fresh air, to disperse any viral particles.
The report added that DMRC is looking at opening more fresh air dampers, which are inlets that let air inside the coaches. It's expected that the temperature would be between 24 and 30 degrees, meaning a journey will feel warmer than usual. Further, the trains would halt for a longer time at terminal stations and doors will be opened to allow more air inside.
The Metro trains, especially spots that are touched frequently like handrails, poles, and seats, will be sanitized using the powerful disinfectant Virex II 256. IE said workers will clean the Metro, ticket vending machines, lift buttons, etc., every four hours. Obviously, all passengers will be thermally screened and only those showing normal temperature will be let in; social distancing will be followed.
Once the services resume, Metro rails won't halt at all stations. The station that will remain shut in the initial days will be re-started gradually. "Those in containment zones will remain shut," Gahlot added. Not all entry and exit points won't be operational. Commuters will be asked to sit on alternates seats and will have to adhere to a one-step gap on escalators.