Social distancing will be the new normal in the city’s metros. Metro Railway, Kolkata is working on steps to introduce and maintain strict measures of social distancing by cutting down the number of commuters present in its premises at any time once it gets a nod for resumption of services from the central authorities.
The Metro Railway before the coronavirus outbreak, carried more than 6 lakh passengers. It served as a lifeline to thousands of passengers particularly office-goers who come to the city from the adjoining districts in local trains.
However, a major blow to those commuters is expected in the near future as the metro plans to cut down on the number of passengers carried on each trip to ensure social distancing is exercised when metro services resume. For this, Metro officials are planning a host of steps to deal with the thousands of commuters who will throng the city metro stations once the operations restart.
According to sources in Kolkata Metro, the influx of commuters will be restricted right at the entrance at various gates where additional numbers of RPF will be deployed. “Once a large crowd enters the premises, it will be impossible for us to control it,” said an official. “Therefore it is important to control the footfall at the entry level,” added the official.
Norms of social distancing will also be followed at the next level which is the ticket counter. The Metro authorities are planning to not open all the counters but operate with a few or alternate ones. Commuters will be made to stand at demarcated places at specified distances from each other.
Hand sanitisers will also be available at the Metro stations but that will be only for the metro railway staff. “Considering the large number of commuters that take up the metro every day, it will almost impossible for us to provide sanitisers to all,” said the official.
Maintenance of social distancing inside coaches is one of the focal points for the metro authorities. Metro authorities is planning to demarcate seats inside coaches also. However, a decision on the number of passengers that are to be allowed inside the coaches is to be taken on Monday.
Even though the number of commuters is to be restricted, the metro authorities are planning to stick to the existing numbers of services. Plans are also being considered to sanitise the rakes after each trip, sources in the Metro informed.