KOLKATA (Metro Rail News): Around 400 people downloaded the mock boarding e-passes within the first 30 minutes of the launch of the link — ‘https//pathadisha.com/metro’ — on Friday, around 50 hours before its scheduled Sunday 7.59 pm official launch.
Last Wednesday, a team led by Metro additional general manager Sharad Srivastava had attended a meeting convened by home secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay at Nabanna to discuss ways to resume services of India’s oldest rapid transit system. They came up with this ingenious way to regulate crowd in COVID times: making commuters self-generate the QR-coded e-pass on their phones or take printouts and furnish them to enter a station.
The state government appointed Sanjoy Chatterjee, director of Ideation Technology, a technology partner with the transport department, to develop the Pathadisha Metro e-pass. The excitement was palpable among people who chanced upon the link while surfing the Net on Friday. “I managed to download it once, but couldn’t save my e-pass,” Supratik Chatterjee, an 18-year-old resident of Sovabazar, said. “I am extremely curious about the link and the e-pass. Initially, I thought it was a complex affair. But after going to the link, I found the steps quite simple. It seems to be a novel way to decongest the Metro and regulate crowd at stations,” said the 32-year-old executive and Kalighat resident Ashish Manna.
When the link becomes functional from Sunday evening, precisely 12 hours before the first train on Monday, one can generate the e-pass, valid for an hour. The link will be available in Pathadisha app, station entry points, Metro Railway’s app, Metro Railway’s website, along with many state government websites. But on Friday, one could access the link just by typing it out. “These were practice sessions. There are no trains on Saturday. So the e-pass generated were of no use,” said a transport department official.
Even as 74 trains will run on Sunday, only NEET aspirants can ride them between 10 am and 7 pm. They just need to show theirs admit cards to walk into a station. The use of e-passes starts only when Metro resumes for the public at 8 am on Monday. The valid e-passes will be issued only from 8 pm on Sunday, 12 hours before the first train that starts at 8 am on Monday. In all, 110 trains will ply in the north-south section and 72 trains along the East-West corridor. No e-passes will be needed in East-West Metro. Only smartcard users can board trains for now. No tokens will be issued for fear of contagion.