Mumbai suburban train services open for all after ten months
After 320 days, the railways permitted all members of the general public to travel in local trains in Mumbai from Monday morning, though for limited hours. Shivaji Sutar, Central Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer said, "Help of local police is being taken to manage the crowd and all authorized entry/exit points and ticket counters have been opened for smooth conduct of the services."
General public has been allotted fixed time slots
To recall, suburban train services were suspended on March 22 last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Notably, the general public is allowed to travel in the suburban trains from the time of the start of services for the day till 7 am, from 12 noon to 4 pm, and from 9 pm till the closure of services for the day.
Wearing of masks is compulsory; fines for violating COVID-19 norms
Sutar said, "Wearing of masks is compulsory and coordination will be ensured with civic authorities for collecting fines from those who violate the COVID-19 prevention norms." Sutar added that for resuming the local train services for all members of the general public now, they have opened all the authorized entry-exit gates, lifts, escalators, and foot over-bridges on the suburban railway stations.
Certain slots have been reserved for essential services employees
From 7 am to 12 noon and from 4 pm to 9 pm, only employees of the essential services and categories of commuters specified by the Maharashtra Government and the Ministry of Railways are permitted to travel in local trains.
Deployment of security forces at crowd-sensitive stations
All the commercial ticket counters and automatic ticket vending machines have also been opened. Sutar said, "There is more deployment of the security force at the crowd- sensitive stations." Further, to ensure no one flouts the time-slot rule, random checking of tickets will be done to see that people are traveling as per the time slots allotted to them.
Services had resumed for essential staff and women last year
After the resumption of local train services in June last year, initially, only essential and emergency services staff were allowed to travel in the suburban trains. Later, various other categories of commuters, including women, were allowed during restricted hours.
Total of 2,985 local train services are being operated
Currently, a total of 2,985 local train services are being operated on the Mumbai suburban network. The railway officials said, "These constitute about 95 percent of the total 3,141 services, which were being operated collectively by the Central Railway (CR) and the Western Railway (WR) before the coronavirus outbreak." "Out of these, 204 special suburban services were added on Friday," they added.