Coronavirus: Shut for months, Metro trains back on track
Metro services restarted in select parts of India today, as part of Unlock 4.0, months after they were shut due to the coronavirus pandemic. Before the Metro trains took to tracks again, authorities readied extensive Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to minimize the transmission of the fatal disease. Social distancing has to be strictly followed and passengers have to wear masks all the time.
The authorities at Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bengaluru, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur), Kolkata, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh, prepared detailed SOPs for the resumption of metro services. Operations in other parts of Maharashtra, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in India, won't resume soon. Authorities have discouraged cash transactions and have prepared the schedule in a manner that keeps crowding at bay.
The Red Line of the Hyderabad Metro, which runs between Miyapur and LB Nagar, resumed operations today. The Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) decided that stations in containment zones, namely Gandhi Hospital, Bharat Nagar, Moosapet, Musheerabad, and Yusufguda, will remain closed. Separately, the Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) claimed all precautions are in place as the rail services restart from today.
In a statement, UPMRC said all stations of Lucknow, from Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport to Munshipulia, were duly sanitized. It added that tokens will be sanitized using UV technology. The trains would stop at all 21 stations. UPMRC also said passengers can purchase multiple tokens, at once, via a cashless way through Go-Smart cards. Those buying new Go-Smart cards will get complimentary face masks.
According to IE, Lucknow Metro will be operational between 6 am and 10 pm, like the pre-lockdown era. 16 trains will ply to let passengers commute comfortably. All passengers will be thermally-screened. Asserting that UPMRC won't compromise on safety and sanitization, Managing Director Kumar Keshav added, "I also urge people to practice hygiene, cleanliness, social distancing, and adhere to all necessary precautions."
Chennai Metro resumes after 5 months. Travel card reader, QR code for contactless ticketing, travel card reader at stations to avoid crowd at counters, social distanced seating and frequent sanitisation some of the key SOP in place. pic.twitter.com/nNioEABZN7— J Sam Daniel Stalin (@jsamdaniel) September 7, 2020
Delhi Metro, whose extensive web covers almost all localities of the National Capital, also resumed operations today in a calibrated manner. The Yellow Line between Samaypur Badli and Huda City Center was the first one to get functional. Over the course of this week, services will resume on other lines. Wearing masks and ensuring social distancing is a must for all passengers, DMRC announced.
DMRC urged people to undertake a journey only if it's essential; talk less to "prevent short-range aerosol transmission," and travel light. "Avoid carrying metallic items for faster frisking. Keep only pocket-sized hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers will not be permitted beyond 30 ml from a safety point of view," DMRC said. The ventilation system has also been tweaked to allow more fresh air inside coaches.
"Try to stagger travel timings for office/home/other works to the extent possible so that the carrying capacity offered with new norms can be reasonably utilized by creating a travel pattern in which people are not rushing to the station in the morning or peak hours only," DMRC said.