Metro services back on track, with social distancing and screening

Our Bureaus New Delhi/ Chennai/Bengaluru | Updated on September 07, 2020

Low traffic on Day One as safety concerns, limited operations keep commuters away

If the government was measured in resuming Metro rail operations across the country, commuters showed that they could be no less careful. When Metro services eventually opened on Monday after five months, albeit in a limited way, the usual rush was missing — be it in Delhi, Lucknow, Chennai or Bengaluru.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) saw about 7,500 passengers travelling in the first four hours. Some 2,500 passengers used the Metro in Lucknow in the first few hours. Patronage was marginal in Chennai and Bengaluru, too.

“I will wait and watch how many people use the Metro. Will also look for any surge in cases. After all, safety comes first,” said a regular Delhi Metro user. “If the safety norms are strictly followed, then I will consider using the Metro,” said another.

Safety measures

In Chennai, passengers told BusinessLine that the crowd was just a tenth of pre-Covid days but they were impressed by the safety measures put in place. Shanmugasundaram, who travelled from Government Estate Station to Guindy, said: “Temperature checks and hand sanitation were ensured at the boarding point. Social distancing was maintained. There is nothing to worry.” He also praised the contact-less ticketing (QR code scanners and passes instead of tokens).

Metro operators will hope that such statements will get more passengers to use their services. In pre-Covid times, Delhi Metro was used by about 26 lakh users a day on an average. Restricted operations (not all lines were opened on Monday) and people continuing to work from home also kept the patronage low on Day One. But ardent Metro users are already celebrating.

Said G Anand, a Bengaluru-based banker, whose office is on MG Road: “It is a relief. Now, I can go to the office and return safely. Only hassle is that we need to be early by one hour, so as not to miss the office deadline.”

How well Metro rail operations take off across the country will entirely depend on adherence to safety measures laid down by the government. Karnataka Health Minister B Sriramulu, who took a Metro ride and inspected the protocols put in place by the BMRCL, said it best in a tweet “..... Don’t be afraid to travel by Metro train, but caution is necessary. Our health is in our own hands. In this regard, all travellers are required to follow the rules put in place.”

Published on September 07, 2020

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