The wheels of Kolkata Metro rolling out of Noapara and Kavi Subhash stations after 176 days, today, brought relief to several city commuters who had been undertaking arduous journeys amidst fear of coronavirus.

After a hiatus of five months, services in the north-south and East-West, metros resumed commercial services at 8am. According to metro officials, around 2,000 commuters travelled till 10am, while the number went up to about 15,000 in the north-south corridor by 5pm. In the East-West metro line, about 75 commuters travelled till 5pm. A commuter travelling between Kavi Subhash to Esplanade, said, “The resumption of metro comes as a major relief to me in such critical times of the pandemic. I had been spending a lot of money on online app cabs to commute for my marketing job. If the system continues, it will be the best mode of transport in the prevailing situations.”

With the opening of the slot booking at 8pm last evening, over 4 lakh people logged in within half an hour. The company had to deploy two additional servers to make the process smoother. The bookings continued for the whole night and the number of requests per minute on an average was 4,000 to 6,000. According to the director and co-founder of the software company, around 3,200 people booked slots for the first metro ride between 8-9am while 3,400 booked slots for the peak hour between 9-10 am which was the highest till 5pm. Till 12pm around 30,000 slots were booked while the number shot up to about 45,000 by 5pm. Developers said, a large number of people who had booked slots did not take up the journey but only wanted to be familiar with the process. “Of the 45,000 slots booked, around 12,000 are confirmed so far. We are expecting around 40 per cent people to travel today,” said the director of the company.

A section of commuters, however, were little rueful being unable to obtain an e-pass. RPFs and metro staff were seen helping the commuters to get e-pass at metro stations.

To overcome the problem, the developers of the e-pass have requested the metro authorities for an audio-visual content to make people familiar with the process. “Our special staff and RPFs at the stations are helping people in obtaining the e-pass,” said Manoj Joshi, general manager of Kolkata Metro Railway. The underground transport authorities earned Rs 11,19,255 on the first day