Delhi

Jam-packed metro coaches on Day 1 of new travel guidelines

Though standing travel is banned, metro commuters stand shoulder to shoulder during peak hours on Monday.   | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

The Delhi Metro on Monday resumed operations with 100% seating capacity, permitting 50 commuters to travel in each coach. With entry continuing to be restricted at stations, as standing travel is not permitted, queues were seen outside some stations.

In a notification issued on Saturday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had permitted the operation of metro trains with 100% seating capacity but specified that no standing travel would be permitted.

However, on the first day of operations, several passengers were seen standing during the metro journey in crowded coaches.

Stating that flying squads were present for enforcement across the network, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said that several people were not “fully aware that the metro is offering only 20% of its passenger capacity” and not 100%.

With the revised guideline, the DMRC can accommodate 50 passengers seated next to each other and 80% of its carrying capacity, which constitutes of around 250 people who can stand and travel, are still out of bounds.

DMRC Spokesperson Anuj Dayal said: “Some people are still under the impression that alternate seats are not to be occupied and preferred to stand during travel causing such a temporary situation in certain trains in some sections. DMRC has taken note of such a situation arising in morning peak hours and to avoid recurrence, will further strengthen its regulated entry and also advise public to occupy all seats during travel and abstain from travel by standing as it is still not permissible according to guidelines.”

“The public are advised to avail metro services only when absolutely necessary to adhere to the prevalent guidelines,” Mr. Dayal said.

Strict enforcement

Several experts said strict enforcement of the guidelines was of prime importance while relaxing the norms.

Sewa Ram, Head of Transport Department at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) said: “In a way we can say that there has been an upgradation with the relaxation but it is still far less than the actual capacity. Since only sitting has been permitted, we should not be that concerned. However, some kind of social distancing has to be ensured. The DMRC should ensure that there are people monitoring as there needs to be strict enforcement. Even though people are sitting next to each other, they are not facing each other and hence, the impact might be less.”

Vaccinated commuters can also be incentivised in some manner, suggested Amit Bhatt of the WRI, while stating that people sitting next to each other “defeats the whole purpose of social distancing.”

“We have to incentivise people who are vaccinated either through some kind of preference in terms of easy check-ins or discounts. The question is how to do that. These are mass transit systems and there is only a certain amount of relaxation one can do. It defeats the purpose if these systems are treated like private vehicles. How to strike a balance is what is important and needs to be thought of,” said Mr. Bhatt.

Further Mr. Bhatt added, “Typically how ticketless people are fined, the same kind of mechanism should be adopted. Some standing commuters on earmarked places should also be permitted.”

Ridership

The DMRC said that the average passenger journeys with full seating and no standing travel till 8 p.m. on Monday was approximately 17.5 lakh.

Since the resumption of services on June 7 with the stipulated 50% capacity, Delhi Metro had witnessed around 16 lakh passenger journeys on an average till July 25, officials said.

Between June 7 and July 25, the daily average number of commuters who were counselled and penalised stood at 470 and 285 respectively, officials said.

With nine flying squads deployed on Monday, across the metro network, 432 passengers were deboarded from trains and 159 commuters were penalised for flouting norms, the DMRC said.


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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 10:05:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/jam-packed-metro-coaches-on-day-1-of-new-travel-guidelines/article35550785.ece

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