Severely hit by the Covid19 pandemic, Delhi Metro has appealed to the Centre to revise the safety protocols to allow it to operate trains with at least full seating capacity to make up for the revenue shortfall.
After being closed for over five months due to the pandemicinduced lockdown, Delhi Metro on September 7 had resumed services with curtailed operation of the Yellow Line, before assuming full operations from September 12, all in compliance with the latest safety guidelines issued by the government.
The 169-day closure of services from March 22 onwards had already financially hit the urban transporter and post resumption, regulated number of commuters further impacted its financial health.
The DMRC has reportedly written to the Centre to revise the safety protocols so as to allow it to operate trains with at least full seating capacity to augment its revenue. It had written to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and also cited the permission given in October last year to buses in Delhi to carry to their full seating capacities.
Besides, the DMRC has already sought financial assistance of Rs 1,648.4 crore from the Centre and the governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, where it runs operations.
While the DMRC has resumed service since September, as per Covid safety norms each commuter has to sit on alternate seats, leaving a seat between them vacant.
Also, standing riders have to maintain a stipulated distance between them, thus further reducing the carrying capacity of a coach.
This is leading to less number of commuters at a time in any train, and also longer queues at Metro stations. Due to these “new normal” restrictions, only 50-60 passengers in total can now travel in a coach, which in preCovid time carried 300-350 people during the peak hours. One Metro coach’s full seating capacity is about 50.
After resuming services on September 7, the DMRC had also kept only 269 of the 682 entryexit gates open due to safety norms. At present, that number has been increased to 447, amid improvement in the Covid situation here.
The DMRC has 10 lines spanning 242 stations, and 264 stations including the Rapid Metro in Gurgaon. Meanwhile, Delhi today recorded 141 fresh Covid cases and 3 deaths, even as its positivity rate stood at 0.22 per cent, according to the Delhi government’s latest health bulletin.
The fresh cases were detected out of 63,022 tests, which included 41,945 rapid antigen tests and 41,077 RTPCR/CBNAAT/TrueNet tests.
The national capital’s coronavirus tally mounted to 6,36,670, the health bulletin said.
The city lost three more lives due to the coronavirus infection, which pushed its Covid toll to 10,889, the bulletin stated.
The number of Covid patients who recovered during the last 24 hours was 136, which raised the city’s cumulative number of such recoveries to 6,24,728.
There were 1,053 active Covid cases in Delhi now, of which the number of patients under home isolation was 420. The count of containment zones in the city stood at 746. Of the current 5,770 hospital beds meant for Covid patients, 5,289 remained unoccupied, the bulletin added. Delhi had yesterday logged 142 Covid cases and two fatalities.
(With input from PTI)