Mumbai local trains to start for Covid-19 frontline staff from today

To maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the railways is planning to allow 700 passengers per local train in Mumbai.
The e-pass required to travel in the Mumbai local is likely to have a QR code that will be scanned at the entry point.(HT File Photo)
The e-pass required to travel in the Mumbai local is likely to have a QR code that will be scanned at the entry point.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Jun 15, 2020 08:06 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByAroosa Ahmed, Mumbai

The Central and Western Railway along with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Sunday confirmed that local train services would be started on Monday for essential workers as identified by state government.

After a meeting between BMC, Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR), a proposal to operate local train services was sent to the railway ministry for approval.

According to railway officials, approval was received from the railway ministry on Sunday evening. Discussions between the railway ministry and Maharashtra government regarding the operation of trains went on till late on Sunday.

CR is likely to operate nearly 200 train services and WR will operate 73 pairs of trains

To maintain social distancing, the railways is planning to allow 700 passengers per local train. One 12-compartment local has a capacity of carrying 1,200 passengers, but routinely during peak hours prior to the lockdown, as many as 5,000 commuters would travel per train. A few booking counters will be operated on Central and Western railway stations. The service will be only for essential workers and medical staff, who will be given an e-pass along with details including picture, name, designation, office railway station, residence railway station, and mobile number.

The e-pass is likely to have a QR code that will be scanned at the entry point.

“Approximately 1.25 lakh essential staff identified by the state government are expected to travel by these trains. It is observed that due to the lockdown, season ticket holders lost a number of days despite holding a valid season ticket. It has been decided to extend the validity of the season tickets to the extent of days lost. The same shall be permitted at the UTS counters at the stations to those permitted by the state government,” read the statement issued by CR and WR.

Essential employees will have to undergo a two-level check of railway tickets at stations. The first check will be conducted by railway personnel before entering the station and the second will be done through QR code scanning.

The railway stations will have only one entry and exit point that will be manned by Railway Protection Force (RPF), Government Railway Police (GRP), and railway ticketing staff.

Barricading of railway stations and restricting public movement inside will be ensured by city police. “Standard operating procedures (SOP) are being readied,” said BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal.

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