A day after the resumption of metro services, Kolkata Metro Railway, today, decided to allow senior citizens to commute without an e-pass between 11.30 am to 4.30 pm. The e-pass is compulsory beyond this period and smart cards are still mandatory for all including elderly commuters.
The elderly citizens will now be able to commute in the metro by showing their identity proof including PAN card, Aadhar Card, driving licence, passport or Voter ID card.
Even as more than 50,000 e-passes were booked on the first day of the commencement of commercial services, and over 55,000 slots were reserved till 5 pm today, a large section of people, mostly senior citizens, were finding difficulties in obtaining the digital pass.
Cases of malpractices in which citizens being charged rupees 50 to 100, were also reported. Considering the fact, the metro authorities decided to ease out the process for the elderly.
“Some senior citizens were finding it difficult to generate e-pass maybe because they did not have smartphones. With the new system, the elderly can travel in the metro at this time. It will also prevent malpractices by people who might try to take advantage of the senior citizens unable to obtain the e-pass,” informed Mr Manoj Joshi, general manager of Metro Railway Kolkata.
According to the metro officials, the timing of 11.30 am to 4.30 pm was decided strategically. “During day time, metros are less crowded and during morning and evening hours, there is a rush of office goers. This time is ideal for senior citizens who do not want to travel in a crowded atmosphere. The additional window has been provided for those elderly who are not regular commuters. The decision will cater to both the sections of commuters- the office-goers and the elderly,” pointed out Mr Joshi.
Meanwhile, the city metro registered a passenger count higher than yesterdays’. CPRO metro railway, Indrani Banerjee, said around 16,500 commuters travelled till 4 pm in the north-south line today against that of 12,500 for the same period yesterday.
Notably, some of the commuters complained of issues in smart card balance updation. Despite recharging their smart cards, their new balance was not reflected at the stations. According to the general manager, the problem has been addressed yesterday.