After being closed for over five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Delhi Metro resume its services from today. Metro operations will resume in a phased manner, and the first line to be opened in the system is the Yellow line, connecting Samaypur Badli and Huda City Centre in Gurugram.
Over a period of next five days i.e, by 12th September, rest of the Lines will also be made operational with all safety measures in place to check the spread of Covid-19 in the Metro premises which requires everyone to follow a new normal of social distancing, face mask and hand sanitisation. But today and tomorrow, only the Yellow line (49 KM with 37 stations consisting of 20 underground and 17 elevated stations). Trains will operate in two shifts, between 7am and 1am, and between 4pm and 8pm.
“A few happy faces from our first journey after more than 5 months.” DMRC tweeted as the first journey began at 7 am.
The metro commuters need to follow certain SOPs for a comfortable and safe commuting experience:
1) Use earmarked gates only: To maintain orderliness and regulate flow of passengers with social distancing norms, only one or two gates will be kept open for entry /exit of passengers at a station. Therefore, passengers are advised to check the earmarked Gate number/location well in advance from DMRC website.
2) Abide by new norms: Apart from regular frontline staff at the stations, DMRC has made additional deployment of around 1000 officials/staff across the line(s)/network to assist and guide passengers in the wake of new norms of Metro travel.
3) Train regulation: Though DMRC is making all out efforts to provide its passengers a continuous and seamless travel experience, however, with the carrying capacity of a train drastically reduced to around 20% of the pre-lockdown period due to social distancing norms, it will be a challenge to regulate the passengers who may head to a station with the expectations of a pre-lockdown travel experience by the Metro. Therefore, in this changed scenario, public is advised to:-
a) Avoid unnecessary travel as far as possible. Try 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 utilised by creating a travel pattern in which people are not rushing to the station in morning or peak hours only.
b) To prevent the overcrowding in trains/stations, situations might arise wherein, DMRC may have to opt for starting certain empty trains from terminal stations or short loop some trains to manage the crowded zones on a particular route/section.
c) The travel time is also increased by 10-20 seconds at stations for boarding-deboarding to ensure social distancing. This may also increase the total travel time in a journey by a few minutes. In view of these factors, passengers are advised to keep extra time of about 15 to 30 minutes for each travel, to be on time for their desired destinations.
d) Use of ‘AarogyaSetu’ app with regular health status update is advisable for commuters with smart phones.
4) Cashless transactions: Be a smart passenger and carry your smart card with you while heading for the Metro. It is contactless, easily rechargeable through online modes and offers a discount up to 20% on every travel. 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.
5) No service in containment zones: 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.
6) Civil defence volunteers/antigen testing of staff: For better management of crowd at/outside stations, DMRC is also in touch with the authorities to provide around 1000 civil defence volunteers. Some major stations have also been identified where law enforcement agencies such as local police, etc., will be roped in to monitor law and order situation outside vulnerable areas. Also, a request has been made to the authorities to arrange for the antigen testing of around 15000 staff of DMRC who will be handling the public throughout the day now. This will go a long way in ensuring Covid free atmosphere in running the services.
7) Travel light: Public is advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for a faster frisking at entry points. Keep only pocket size hand sanitizers, if any, during the travel. Hand sanitizers will not be permitted beyond 30 ml quantity from the safety point of view.