After a gap of 169 days, Metro Rail back on track

After a long gap of 169 days, Metro Rail services are back on track. Suspended since March 22 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Metro services all across the country have been allowed to resume in a staggered manner from Monday while maintaining strict social distancing measures and proper sanitisation.

Visibly happy at being allowed to resume services, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) which began operations from Yellow Line (Samyapur Badli to HUDA City Centre) in a staggered manner, tweeted pictures early Monday morning to announce they are back on track.

Over a period of next five days i.e, by September 12, rest of the Lines will also be made operational with all safety measures in place to check the spread of COVID-19 in Metro Rail premises which mandates every individual to follow a new normal of social distancing, sporting a face mask and ensuring hand sanitisation.

This Monday and Tuesday, Yellow line (49 KM with 37 stations consisting of 20 underground and 17 elevated stations) services will remain operational for a period of four hours each in the morning (7 AM to 11 AM) and evening (4 PM to 8 PM).

 

Trains will be available with a headway varying from 2 min 44 seconds to 5 min 28 secs (at different stretches) with 57 trains performing around 462 trips. The same will be further extended in a graded manner from September 9 to 12 along with other lines.

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The resumption of services with a new normal to prevent the spread of Covid-19 desires public to understand and co-operate with DMRC/CISF personnel on the following aspects for a comfortable and safe commuting experience: –

1.     USE EARMARKED GATES ONLY: To maintain orderliness and regulate flow of passengers with social distancing norms, only one or two gates will be kept open for entry /exit of passengers at a station. Therefore, passengers are advised to check the earmarked Gate number/location well in advance from DMRC website www.delhimetrorail.com

 2.     ABIDE BY NEW NORMS: Apart from regular frontline staff at the stations, DMRC has made additional deployment of around 1000 officials/staff across the line(s)/network to assist and guide passengers in the wake of new norms of Metro travel which may take some time to settle in. All staff have been advised to manage the passengers with a positive and caring attitude in these testing times with initial focus on sensitising rather than punitive, on new norms to be followed continuously during the journey for their own and everyone’s safety. All passengers are appealed to cooperate with the personnel on duty and keep listening to announcements on guidelines to be followed or updates on journey/services, if any.

 3.     TRAIN REGULATION: Though DMRC is making all out efforts to provide its passengers a continuous and seamless travel experience, however, with the carrying capacity of a train drastically reduced to around 20% of the pre-lockdown period due to social distancing norms, it will be a challenge to regulate the passengers who may head to a station with the expectations of a pre-lockdown travel experience by the Metro. Therefore, in this changed scenario, public is advised to:-

 a.    Avoid unnecessary travel as far as possible. Try to stagger travel timings for office/home/other works to the extent possible so that the carrying capacity offered with new norms can be reasonably utilised by creating a travel pattern in which people are not rushing to the station in morning or peak hours only. Rather, they are coming equitably at all hours of the operational timings of the Metro services to ‘break the peak’- a requirement of the present times.  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. 

 b.    To prevent the overcrowding in trains/stations, situations might arise wherein, DMRC may have to opt for starting certain empty trains from terminal stations or short loop some trains to manage the crowded zones on a particular route/section. This dynamic regulation of train movement will be based on the ground situation at given hours and one may have to skip a train or two, leading to extra time in completing the travel. Similarly, dwell time is also increased by 10-20 seconds at stations for boarding-deboarding to ensure social distancing. This may also increase the total travel time in a journey by a few minutes. In view of these factors, passengers are advised to keep extra time of about 15 to 30 minutes for each travel, to be on time for their desired destinations.

 c.    Use of ‘AarogyaSetu’ app with regular health status update is advisable for commuters with smartphones.

 4.     CASHLESS TRANSACTIONS: Be a smart passenger and carry your smart card with you while heading for the Metro. It is contactless, easily rechargeable through online modes and offers a discount up to 20% on every travel. Tokens will  not be available at the stations for the time being as they need a frequent human interface for travel transactions and pose a risk of Coronavirus infection so a SMART CARD IS A MUST for travel.

Transactions involving the exchange of cash for recharge/refund of smart cards will not be permitted for the time being as the physical handling of currency may lead to transmission of coronavirus. The commuters are requested to cooperate with DMRC staff in this aspect to prevent the spread of the virus.  

 5.     NO SERVICE IN CONTAINMENT ZONES: Since Delhi Metro operates in Delhi-NCR, it will not be providing services to such stations which fall under the containment zones for any given day in any of the state(s). State governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh notify such zones on a regular basis on their websites. If any of the station(s) happen to fall in such zone, the same will also be made public through announcements at stations/trains and through social media updates as and when brought to the notice of DMRC by authorities concerned or observed by DMRC officials who will also keep a check on daily updated list of containment zones on respective websites. Since most of the Metro stations lie on the median of the roads, there is a slim chance for stations to fall in the containment zone as a regular practice.

 6.     CIVIL DEFENCE VOLUNTEERS/ANTIGEN TESTING OF STAFF: For better management of crowd at/outside stations, DMRC is also in touch with the authorities to provide around 1000 civil defence volunteers. Some major stations have also been identified where law enforcement agencies such as local police, etc., will be roped in to monitor law and order situation outside vulnerable areas. Also, a request has been made to the authorities to arrange for the antigen testing of around 15000 staff of DMRC who will be handling the public throughout the day now. This will go a long way in ensuring Covid free atmosphere in running the services.

 7.     TRAVEL LIGHT: Public is advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for a faster frisking at entry points. Keep only pocket size hand sanitizers, if any, during the travel. Hand sanitizers will not be permitted beyond 30 ml quantity from the safety point of view.

DMRC operates 389 KM of Metro network with 285 stations in Delhi-NCR including Rapid Metro in Gurugram and Aqua Line of Noida-Greater Noida Metro. About 70 per cent of its passengers used to travel by using Smart Cards. Overall passenger journeys performed in a day before the Covid-19 stuck our country was around 60 lakhs.

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