Mumbai

Local trains back on track for essential service workers today

Painting on the wall: A man walks past artwork honouring essential service workers like doctors, police personnel, delivery boys and sanitation workers.

Painting on the wall: A man walks past artwork honouring essential service workers like doctors, police personnel, delivery boys and sanitation workers.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

Local trains for essential service workers like health, civic and police personnel will start from Monday morning, following a decision taken late at night after a series of meetings between railway and State government officials on Sunday.

Western Railway (WR) will run 120 services from Virar to Churchgate, while Central Railway (CR) will run 200 services. On WR, services will run at 15-minute intervals between 5..30 a.m. and 11.30 p.m. On CR, trains will only halt at fast service stations and will depart from Panvel, Kasara, Karjat, Kalyan and Thane.

Ticket windows will be opened for commuters, but passes will be issued only to those who can furnish a government ID card.

As season ticket holders lost a number of days despite holding a valid pass due to the lockdown, it has been decided to extend the validity of the ticket for the number of days lost. This can be done at UTS counters at stations for those permitted by the government to travel. UTS counters may also issue fresh tickets/ season tickets to these commuters.

With physical distancing protocols in place, each train will allow only 700 passengers, as opposed to its seating capacity of around 1,200.

Earlier in the day, railway officials met representatives of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Police to work out protocols.

Motormen had been asked to stay ready to resume services and use N95 masks that had been provided to them earlier. Another safety kit will soon be provided. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is also being redeployed across stations to manage crowds and 150 additional staff from the Maharashtra Security Force have also been requisitioned. The Government Railway Police has also asked all its staff to hold discussions on crowd control with their RPF counterparts.

Railway officials said they had shared their plan with the BMC, which included having QR code-based passes for essential staff. But civic officials thought it would be difficult to implement in a short period. Work is under way to put in place a system to this effect.

A key point discussed during the meetings was whether to allow essential staff working in the private sector to use the services. The Railway Board has allowed private health care workers to avail of the services.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 3:57:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/local-trains-back-on-track-for-essential-service-workers-today/article31829271.ece

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