City commuters, who have been bearing the pain of an arduous journeys due to fewer number of private buses on roads and absence of local trains, are not seeing much hope in the news of the resumption of Kolkata Metro services, likely to start from 14 September.
Notably, pre-booking of travel slots to avail service have been made compulsory in Kolkata Metro for the Covid period. Purchase of new smart cards will be enabled at the station ticket counters upon showing the E-pass that will have to be booked at least four to six hours in advance as per slot availability.
There will be hourly time slots announced by the Metro authority. Sources also informed that only those using smartphones will be able to avail the e-pass that will be mandatory for a commute in Kolkata Metro. Commuters who heavily depend on the underground transport for their day-to-day activities, however, are not expecting much relief in the system that is to come with a rider of an e-pass with pre-book travel slots.
According to Abhishek Malik, content writer of a magazine, the lows of online processes is known to all. “With a large volume of commuters who will be logging online to book slots, there is a possibility of problems like unavailability of slots, server crash, extremely slow online processing,” pointed out Abhishek. “Also, as the Metro is being said to start from 8 am, is the commuter expected to get up at 3 or 4 am to log in for passes or keep checking for availability of slots for the whole night?”
Arpan Saha, working in the sales department of a private insurance company, rued, “On a typical working day, I hardly know where I will be and at what time. The meetings with clients, collection of documents, bank visits, usually come suddenly for which I have to reach the spot really fast. There is no fixed time for leaving the office in the evening. In such a situation, how am I supposed to book a slot of a particular time period?”
Anubrata Mondal, a quinquagenarian living at Bhowanipore with his wife and son in Mumbai, said, “I work as security personnel at a private firm Dum Dum. I am not tech-savvy and a smartphone or laptop is like a tale of an unknown land to me. I heavily depend on the metro and was eagerly waiting for services to resume. I do not know, if I will be able to avail a commute now as the process of obtaining an e-pass is almost impossible for me.”