The Puja revellers depending on metro for night pandal hopping during Durga Puja might have to restrict their plans this year as Kolkata Metro Railway will run night services during the festival only if the state government proposes to do so.
Notably, the city metro, in previous years, ran services till extended hours during the peak festival days. In the pre-Covid times, the services were from 1pm to 4am on festival days during when metro ferried the highest number of commuters in a year.
Last year, the metro created history by carrying 9.28 lac commuters on ‘Panchami,’ 3 October, which was the highest ever passenger count on a single day. Even after the resumption of services last month, metro emerged as the choicest mode of transport in Covid times. A large number of commuters prefer to commute in metro as they find it safest in times of social distancing.
However, with apprehensions covid spread during puja, the metro authorities are considering not running the night services, confirmed a senior metro official.
“There are other difficulties as suburban trains aren’t running and our staff are facing commuting issues. If there is no exclusive proposal to run services during the night from the state government, we might just extend the operation to our earlier timing of 9.55pm for the last metro during the festival days,” added the official.
For now, the metro authorities have decided to add six services from 19 October and extend the timing of the last metro till 9pm instead of 8.30pm from Monday to Saturday. A final call on extending the timing of the last metro till 9.55pm during puja, is yet to be taken, informed the official.