As most of the economic activities have been opened up, it’s time to resume metro services

As European nations have already opened up their metro networks for the public, it is now time for India to rethink about the future things and resume the metro services.

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Delhi Metro
Delhi Metro

The Unlock – 3 guidelines have opened up almost a large part of economic activities to restart functioning. The bus services are already operating in cities like Delhi. Mumbai has around 700 local trains on its fleet for travel of essential service providers. The Railways is already running special trains to cater to the needs of the people whose movement is necessary or urgent. However, metro services have not yet resumed their services.

The government has already announced that it will not get-go for another lockdown and amid the rising cases of Coronavirus infections, it is emphasizing to boost up economic activities as the economy of the nation is experiencing a sharp decline and the GDP is going to be in the negative figure according to different rating agencies.

It is obvious that once the economic activities start and factories open up, the movement of people in large numbers starts. With this, comes the demand for Public Transport as most of these people who work either in offices or factories earn such a little amount that they can’t maintain private vehicles. There may be some other reasons too for not commuting through private vehicles.

These kinds of people are now forced to make their own arrangements to reach their workplaces as the public transport systems have been critically regulated by the government during the pandemic. If a worker earns an amount of Rs 15k a month and is forced to travel through commercial vehicles, he/she will not have much amount left at the end of the month.

The government must ensure that the efficient mobility services are provided to people who are facing problems today to reach their workplaces. The best way to handle the situation is to open up the wide network of metros and sub urban trains along with bus services with some restrictions. If the government wants to go on with unlocking the things, then why to impose a locked on the metro services. The lockdown has already created a lot of problems for the Metro Authorities and they are even struggling to pay off their loan installments. The government on the other hand has not been so kind to the metro authoities in terms of economic help.

The DMRC has recently rejected help from the centre as it suggested the DMRC to seek Delhi government’s aid to pay the loans. The Delhi government is already experiencing money crunch and it is unlikely to help the DMRC on an urgent basis. The same story goes on with Mumbai Metro, Bangaluru Metro, Kolkata Metro, Chennai Metro etc. As the metro corporations suffer from a huge loss and the public on other hand is badly needed the public transport systems to reach to their workplaces, the government must address the problem and issue guidelines to resume metro services.

The European nations are already running their metros since May itself and some of them even operated in the most critical times. If the European nations can run metro services with restrictions then why not India? The question has a simple answer if we look into these developments around the world.

We bring here the stories of four nations of Europe who have started metro services for more than two months. Let’s have a look into these happenings :-

France: Paris Metro

Five million passengers used to ride the metro every day in France’s capital, for a total of more than 10 million journeys taken in a day.

In phase two of its lockdown easing, France gradually resumed metro services but the authoities are still encouraging Parisians to limit their trips to what is strictly necessary and if possible to choose alternatives such as bicycles or private taxis. About 1.5 million to 2 million journeys are currently being taken daily, so at maximum only a fifth of the number of journeys that was the norm before the pandemic.

Some stations remain closed and the Paris Metro service is ran at 75 percent capacity. French authorities are still aiming to get the

The number of passengers allowed on the metro has been drastically reduced: no more than 180 passengers are accepted on the trains, for a total of 32 passengers per carriage. In normal times, the average number of total passengers was around 700 people with masks being mandatory along with use of sanitizers. The metro premises as well as the rolling stock get sanitized on a regular basis.

Germany – Berlin U-Bahn

Before the pandemic, around 3 million journeys were taken across Berlin’s metro system (including subways, trams and buses but excluding the overground – S-Bahn and regional trains) every day.

Germany has been one of the first countries to reopen services after weeks of lockdown, but despite the Berlin metro system running at 100 percent capacity, the number of passengers remains low – around 35 to 40 percent of regular demand.

Passengers are asked to keep a 1.5-meter distance and encouraged to make use of the entire length of the vehicles, together with avoiding journeys during rush hour whenever possible.

London Underground

Transport for London (TfL) has been hit badly by the pandemic, with a significant reduction in workforce, with staff falling ill or self-isolating. But it has kept operating 60 percent of its Tube services during the worst of the crisis and is now operating 75 percent of services.

Although people in the UK are still urged to avoid using public transport as much as possible unless they are key workers. The metro services however remain to be operational in the United Kingdom.

Italy: Milan Metro

On Monday 18 May, Milan started reopened its metro system at 25 per cent capacity, with passengers all having to wear face masks and gloves on board.

In 36 stations, a system is in place to automatically count passengers as they pass ticket barriers – an additional service beside the checks by personnel on site – that will notify staff if the maximum capacity of the train has been reached.

The city had also deployed police officers in the most frequented metro stations to enforce social distancing norms among the passengers. Red signs show people where they should stand on the platform to keep a safe distance from others; in carriages, passengers should keep a one-meter distance.

Now, it’s time for India to evaluate the things and reopen metro services with some restrictions. Reducing the fleet strength along with strict measures taken to enforce the social distancing norms will help a lot. The regular sanitization of the rolling stock and metro premises will help to contain the virus transmission. The authorities may make hand gloves compulsory for the riders along with masks and sanitizers.

The Metro Rail News has been receiving numerous request from the commuters to reach their concern about the resumption of the metro services. The authorities shall plan the operation of metro networks with the enforcement of “New Normal” guidelines so that public transport systems resume. It is the need of the hour to plan the resumption as we all know, we will have to adapt to the new lifestyle as Coronavirus will take time to finally go away.

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