Metros to resume from Sept 7 but won’t stop at overcrowded stations
Metro rail services on selected lines will begin from September 7. Services on all metro lines will resume by September 12.Updated: Sep 02, 2020, 21:41 IST
Metro trains will resume services in a graded manner and metros having more than one line should open different lines starting from September 7 onwards in a staggered manner so that all corridors become operational by September 12, according to the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued on Wednesday for restarting Metro services under the Unlock 4 guidelines.
The guidelines issued by the ministry of housing and urban affairs state stations coming under containment zones will remain closed.
“Daily hours of operations may be staggered initially, which needs to be increased gradually with resumption of full revenue service by September 12, 2020. Frequency of trains to be regulated to avoid passenger crowding at stations and in trains,” the SOP said.
The government of Maharashtra has decided not to resume operation of the metro during September, 2020. “Hence, Mumbai Line-1 and Maharashtra Metro operations shall commence from October, 2020 or as state Government may decide further,” union housing minister Hardeep Puri said in a press conference.
Based on the guidelines issued by the Centre the metro corporations of Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur), Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOP, the ministry said.
The SOP has been finalised following discussions with the managing directors of 15 Metro rail corporations on Tuesday. The Union home ministry has cleared the guidelines.
The home ministry had allowed Metro services in a graded manner from September 7 under its Unlock 4 plan issued on Saturday.
According to the SOP, metro authorities will ensure there are suitable markings at stations and inside trains. It will be mandatory for passengers and staffers to wear a mask at all times. Those who come without a mask will have to buy one at the station.
Officials said the metro authorities had also been told that the trains should not stop at stations where passengers do not maintain social distancing norms.
“There will be marking across stations for maintaining social distancing and even inside the trains on the seats. Passengers must ensure that they adhere to it, we are monitoring each and every location through video cameras through central control rooms and if at any station these norms are violated or crowding takes place the instructions are that metro trains will not stop at those stations. We have even added this in the SOP,” housing affairs secretary Durga Shanker Mishra said.
Puri said the government may have to review the arrangements if resumption of services leads to crowding at stations where passengers are found violating social distancing norms.
“Emphasis has to be on review and caution. We are very clear in our minds that this opening up in a graded and calibrated manner will need to be reviewed. If we find that the resumption of operations is not resulting in social distancing either at the metro stations or if there is crowding or trains are getting congested…we might have no option but to review all these arrangements. So I am appealing through the media to all the consumers that while we welcome the resumption of metro services, a decision which was been taken after very careful and deep consideration, the buzz word is ‘caution’ and ‘care’…resumption of economic activity is imperative but it has to be done in a careful and calibrated manner,” Puri said.
Only asymptomatic persons to be allowed to travel after thermal screening at entry into the stations.
“Symptomatic persons should be advised to go to nearby Covid Care Centre/Hospital for testing/medical attention. Use of Aarogya Setu App will be encouraged,” the SOP said.
The guidelines said that the use of Smart Cards and cashless/online transactions will be encouraged but tokens can also be used with proper sanitization.
“Adequate dwell time at stations will be provided to enable smooth boarding and deboarding ensuring social distancing. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing,” Puri said.
Provision of sanitizers will be made at entry into the stations for use by passengers. Passengers will be advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick scanning, the SOP noted.
“Operation of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system as per the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) & Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) guidelines. Intake of fresh air in the air-conditioning system to be increased to the extent possible,” the SOP said.
Metro rail corporations will maintain close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowds outside stations and to deal with contingencies, it added.