Metro Railway, Kolkata, is planning to resume commercial services from 14 September while the underground transport will be specially made available for the aspirants appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), on 13 September.
However, a commute in the Kolkata Metro amidst a pandemic, when unprecedented rules are the new normal, will require the passengers to compulsorily possess an e-pass along with a smart card.
For the first time in Kolkata Metro, e-pass or boarding pass will have to be obtained with the expected time of the journey, source and destination Metro stations four to six hours before the journey, which is likely to be available on the Metro website or the existing ‘Pathadisha’ app launched by the state Transport Department or a mobile app, according to sources.
The metro will then issue the digital pass valid for one hour in the time slot preferred by the commuters.
Commuters will be allowed inside the metro station only on producing the e-pass with QR code before city police personnel that will be deployed at the gate.
The state transport department has the responsibility of developing the app and it is expected to be ready in two to three days.
However, the e-pass will be issued to the commuter depending upon how many people are expected in that time slot at the station, platform and inside the rakes.
Commuters will also be able to get new smart cards by obtaining an e-pass beforehand. A similar e-pass system is currently being used in local trains in Mumbai.
“The agency responsible for the app has sought some data from us which will be provided shortly,” said Kolkata Metro’s CPRO, Indrani Banerjee. “They will develop it and then show it to us in two or three days,” she added.
The Metro Railway general manager, according to sources, will visit all the Metro stations of the city between 8 to 10 September to take note of the preparations for resumption of commercial services.
According to sources, there are around four lakh holders of Kolkata Metro’s smart card. However, in the current situation, the city metro will not be able to handle huge crowds of smart card holders.
Instead, to ensure social distancing is maintained inside the coaches, out of the total 384 seating capacity in a rake, only 128 commuters will be accommodated. Sanitising tunnels, thermal scanning, masks will be other measures that will be implemented.
For now, Metro authorities have decided to start services only in the existing NorthSouth route.
Service along the six stations of East-West Metro will continue to remain suspended, sources in the Metro informed.
Meanwhile, the Kolkata Metro authorities have decided to run service on 13 September for students appearing for the NEET exams on the request of the state government.
The student passengers will be able to commute with an e-pass and will need to produce their admit cards at the entry point of the Metro station.