Metro networks across cities could see 10 lakh to 15 lakh passenger journeys by the end of the first week of restarting services after a five-and-a-half month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry officials on Sunday.
Metro services are set to re-start in a graded manner, except in Maharashtra as the State government decided against it, from Monday morning, after the Ministry of Home Affairs on August 28 gave the go-ahead and the MoHUA announced a standard operating procedure for the same on September 2.
With social distancing requirements, Metro stations and trains would be functioning at reduced capacities. The MoHUA secretary, Durga Shanker Mishra, said the Metro services would be resumed in a graded manner, with reduced timings and number of lines to begin with, gradually leading to all lines by September 12. Social distancing norms and mandatory masks, however, would remain in place, he said. The frequency of trains in Delhi would be increased from every two minutes to five to seven minutes, he said.
Prior to the lockdown and suspension of Metro services in March, the country’s Metro networks were completing around 80 lakh passenger journeys a day, of which around 60 lakh were in Delhi alone, an official said. The official said while the public would have their own reservations and the Metro networks would be imposing restrictions to maintain safety of passengers, the ridership was expected to reach 10 lakh to 15 lakh by the end of the week. Three lines in Maharashtra — the Maha Metro in Nagpur, the Mumbai Line-1 and the Mumbai Monorail — are not expected to open till October, or a later date that the State government decides, a MoHUA statement had said on September 2. Stations in containment zones would also remain closed.