A health worker collects a sample for Covid-19 test in Mumbai. (Reuters)
On Monday and Tuesday, only the yellow line of the Delhi Metro, covering 49 kilometre with 37 stations consisting of 20 underground and 17 elevated stations, will remain operational for a period of four hours each in the morning from 7 am to 11 am and evening from 4 pm to 8 pm. The government has allowed for the metro rail service to resume in a bid to restart the economy, while also keeping in mind the huge loss incurred by the corporation in the last few months. People have been advised to avoid unnecessary travel as far as possible and advised to stagger travel timings for office, home, other works to the extent possible so that the carrying capacity offered with new norms can be reasonably utilized by creating a travel pattern in which people are not rushing to the station in morning or peak hours only.
DMRC said that apart from regular frontline staff at the stations, it has made additional deployment of around 1,000 officials and staff across the line to assist and guide passengers in the wake of new norms of travel which may take some time to settle in. Tokens will not be available at the stations for the time being as they need frequent human interface for travel transactions and pose a risk of coronavirus infection so a “smart card is a must for travel”. Since Delhi Metro operates in Delhi-NCR, it will not be providing services to such stations which fall under the containment zones for any given day in any of the states. State governments of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh notify such zones on a regular basis on their websites.
Trains will be sanitized at terminal stations. Similarly, once they are back to Depots after the end of the day, they will again be thoroughly sanitized. The train doors will be kept open at terminal stations to jet fresh air infuse in the train.
Regular cleaning of metro stations will be ensured by prioritizing passenger movement areas such as concourse, passages, platforms. All human contact areas — lift buttons, escalator handrails, gates touch points, customer handling points will be disinfected at stations every four hours.
In a bid to wade off people’s fear of catching coronavirus infection in closed and cramped metro compartments, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has modified the air conditioning system of the trains to allow 100 per cent inflow of fresh air.
AC filters will also be thoroughly cleansed with sodium hypochlorite solution every seven days, as against the earlier norm of fifteen days. Besides this, earlier only 30 per cent of fresh air was allowed inside the train, which has now been increased to its full capacity.