Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday said the metro services will resume in a graded manner from September 7 across the country and passengers will have to follow preventive measures against COVID-19 such as maintaining social distancing and wearing a face mask. Addressing an online media briefing, the Union housing and urban affairs minister said that all metro lines will become operational by September 12.
Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Puri said, “Resumption of metro rail systems across the country (except Maharashtra) was announced today. These will resume in a graded & calibrated manner from 7 Sept 2020. This decision has been taken after due consideration, & will be implemented with due caution & care.”
He tweeted, “Commuters will no doubt want to follow prescribed preventive measures & cooperate with concerned authorities. Masks will be compulsory. People have to follow social distancing norms both on both station premises & trains. SOPs for metro travel were also announced today.”
Resumption of metro rail systems across the country (except Maharashtra) was announced today.
These will resume in a graded & calibrated manner from 7 Sept 2020.
This decision, has been taken after due consideration, & will be implemented with due caution & care. pic.twitter.com/wnN0efOiAj
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) September 2, 2020
The cities of Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur) Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOPs. The Maharashtra government has decided not to resume operation of the metro in September. The Mumbai Line-1 and Maha Metro operations will commence from October or as the state government may decide further.
Puri said the metro stations, as well as entry and exit gates in COVID-19 containment zones, will, however, remain closed when services resume from September 7. According to the ministry, Metro trains will not stop at stations where passengers are found not maintaining social distancing.
Puri said that wearing a face mask will be mandatory during travel on Metro trains and added that masks will be provided to passengers on payment basis at stations. He also said that the daily hours of operations may be staggered initially, which needs to be increased gradually with the resumption of full revenue service by September 12.
The frequency of trains will be regulated to avoid passenger crowding at stations and in trains. In order to ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains will be done.
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. The use of Aarogya Setu App has been encouraged. The provision of sanitizers will be made at the entrance into the stations for use by passengers.
Sanitization of all areas having human interface namely equipment, train, working area, lift, escalators, handrail, AFC gate, toilets etc. needs to be done at regular intervals. The use of Smart Cards and cashless/online transactions will be encouraged. Tokens and paper slips/ticket to be used with proper sanitization.
Adequate dwell time at stations to be provided to enable smooth boarding/deboarding ensuring social distancing. Passengers to be advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick scanning. Operation of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system will be done 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. Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign to be launched for passenger and staff through electronic/print/social media, poster, banner, hoarding, website etc. Metro rail corporations to keep close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowd outside the station and to deal with contingencies.
If resumption of operations is not resulting in social distancing or there is crowding, the government will review the entire process.
Metro services were suspended in late March when the government announced a nationwide lockdown to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.