Traffic was thin on the first day as many commuters said that they were still not sure if taking public transport was safe due to the risk of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Stickers and markings were seen both in trains and on platforms so that passengers maintain social distancing.
With the Centre issuing guidelines for their graded resumption under Unlock 4, Metro services resumed in Lucknow, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, apart from the national capital, on Monday after a gap of about five-and-a-half months. The services were still closed in Mumbai, Nagpur, Kolkata and Jaipur.
Passengers and staff were cautious and followed social-distancing measures and other safety protocols specified by authorities. Traffic was thin on the first day as many commuters said that they were still not sure if taking public transport was safe due to the risk of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Stickers and markings were seen both in trains and on platforms so that passengers maintain social distancing.
Around 6,000 people boarded Lucknow metro trains, as against over 70,000 in pre-lockdown days. Metro authorities said they were encouraging commuters to go for cashless/online ticket transactions. In Bengaluru, all passengers were asked to use smart cards as no tokens were being sold.
On the station premises, passengers were permitted to enter the concourse only after temperature checks with thermal guns and sanitisation of hands. Frequently touched areas in coaches like grab rails, poles, handles, passenger seats and door surfaces were sanitised regularly.
Tamil Nadu industries minister MC Sampath was among those who boarded the first Chennai metro train that departed from the airport to Washermenpet at 7am. He travelled up to Nandanam station.
The Lucknow Metro resumed services at 6am at all 16 stations with a thin crowd. The total ridership by 6pm was around 6,000.
“I am happy to see the trains running on tracks again…I hope to see more passengers in the coming days. Initially we have kept the frequency of trains at 5 minutes and 30 seconds, and when ridership increases, we will reduce the frequency to around 3 minutes,” said Kumar Keshav, managing director, Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC).
Metro Rail services in Bengaluru started operations on the Purple Line from Byappanahalli station to Mysuru Road and vice versa. Karnataka health minister B Sriramulu travelled in a train to review the preparedness. The trains ran between 8am and 11am in the morning and 4.30pm-7.30 in the evening. Only those above 10 years and below 55 were allowed to travel.
In Hyderabad, metro train services between Corridor 1 (Miyapur to LB Nagar) started while operations will be resumed in a graded manner on other routes. People were facing a lot of problems in reaching their places of work or destination in the absence of public transport, Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) managing director NVS Reddy told PIT. Trains were being operated from 7am to noon and 4pm-9pm, he said.
Services resumed in Kochi with Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurating the newly completed Thykoodam-Pettah stretch, marking completion of the first phase of the urban transport mobility in the coastal city at a cost of Rs 6,218 crore. A Kochi Metro spokesperson said trains will run from 7am-9pm with a 10- minute break.