Delhi Metro resumes services with strict safety measures after 169-day Covid hiatus
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) resumed its services on Monday over five months after they were suspended as part of measures to ensure social distancing to check the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The services began at 7 am on Monday on the 49-km-long Yellow Line (HUDA City Centre and Samaypur Badli), the first corridor opened as per the Centre’s guidelines easing the measures put in place in view of the pandemic.
There was not much rush during the first hour of resumption of the services but commuters said they were happy to see this happen finally. Kumud Priya, a commuter at Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, said, “I left early to ensure that I do not get caught in queues. At least till early morning hours, there was no rush...people are also responsibly following directions. The opening is a huge relief.”
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Commercial activities and offices have been allowed to reopen in the Capital under the Centre’s Unlock guidelines, and commuters were facing a lot of problems in the absence of adequate public transport. The restrictions on the number of passengers in public transport had added to the problems.
Extra staff has been deployed at stations, especially big ones such as Rajiv Chowk, to ensure commuters follow all the norms for safe travel.
Security personnel were using metal detectors attached to rods to ensure social distancing during frisking at the stations after thermal scanning. People were allowed to enter stations after sanitising their hands.
The services will be fully functional by September 12 and commuters have been advised to only undertake essential travels and “talk less” while travelling.
In an interview to HT last week, DMRC chief Mangu Singh admitted that crowding is a concern and their efforts are to “break the peak”.
“We want to ensure that there is no peak in crowding; that there is an even flow. We want people to support us and plan journeys accordingly because this is the best way to utilise the system. And we will also be able to provide the best service.”
DMRC has issued a detailed advisory for commuters about the dos and don’ts while travelling in this new normal post-coronavirus pandemic. Anuj Dayal, executive director, corporate communication, DMRC, said, “Besides ‘break the peak’, DMRC appeals to commuters to talk less during travel in the Metro to prevent the possibility of short-range aerosol transmission.”
Follow precautions against Covid-19: Arvind Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Monday, expressed his happiness over the resumption of the Metro, adding there should be no negligence in following precautions against Covid-19.
“I am happy Metro (services) starts today. Metro has made good arrangements. We also must not show negligence in following the precautions,” Kejriwal tweeted in Hindi.
Various steps, such as strict adherence to wearing masks and using sanitiser, social distancing, using smart cards only and thermal screening have been put in place by the DMRC to ensure safe commuting amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Home Ministry had recently issued guidelines allowing Metro services in the country to resume operations in a graded manner, following which the DMRC said it would do so in three stages from September 7-12.
Under stage one, Yellow Line or Line 2 and Rapid Metro were made operational with restricted service hours, a DMRC official said.
Trains will operate in batches of four hours each from 7 am to 11 am in the morning and 4 pm to 8 pm in the evening during the first stage, officials said.
Metro services in the National Capital Region were halted on March 22 due to the pandemic. The DMRC has appealed to people to use the transport only if there is an urgent need.
(with inputs from PTI)