MUMBAI: Local trains -- Mumbai's lifeline -- resumed services in the city from Monday but only for essential services workers, identified by the state government.
Around 1.25 lakh essential services staff are expected to travel by these trains on a daily basis. Mumbai local train services were suspended in March to curb the spread of covid-19.
The Maharashtra government which allowed offices to function with 10-15% staff on 8 June, saw huge crowding on the roads and in buses, with the public defying social distancing norms. This prompted the state to request the Centre to allow resumption of local train services.
Late Sunday, the government decided to restart services of Western Railway and Central Railway for only workers in essential services.
Up to 73 pairs of suburban services, which include eight pairs between Virar and Dahanu Road, will run from today. The trains will operate from 5.30 am to 11.30 pm with a 15-minute interval.
In a statement, Western Railway said, entry will be allowed at stations strictly through ID cards of essential staff as identified by the state government. The staff will be later issued QR based e-passes which will also bear colour coding to enable swifter ticket checking.
To allow adequate social distancing in the coaches only only 700 passengers are allowed per train against its seating capacity of about 1,200 people.
The state government had been advised to stagger the timings of its offices for workers coming from different areas to ensure there is no crowding at the stations and inside the trains.
The services of Western Railway will run as fast local trains between Churchgate and Borivali, and beyond Borivali at a slow speed.
The services resuming on Central Railway include 200 trains (up and down). Up to 130 trains will run between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus or CSMT and Kasara/Karjat/Kalyan/Thane, while the remaining will run between CSMT and Panvel. These trains will also run as fast trains and halt at major stations only.