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Indian Railways' Central Railway(CR) and Western Railway(WR) zones have decided to operate suburban services in Mumbai at the 100 per cent capacity of the pre-pandemic level from Thursday.

A joint statement issued by the CR and WR clarified that only categories identified by the government as on date are permitted to travel as per the standard operating procedures (SOP).

However,the existing travel restrictions for the general public will remain unchanged, as per an official release.

“Keeping in consideration the increased flow of commuters in local tarins, it has been decided that now, from 28 October, Central and Western Railways will run suburban services to Pre-covid level i.e. 100% on Mumbai division of CR and WR," the statement said

Due to Covid-19 lockdown from 22 March last year, train services were stopped completely. Later from 15 June last year, railways began suburban services for essential service categories as identified by the State Government and approved by Ministry of Railways. The categories of commuters who were allowed by the State Government and approved by Ministry of Railways were subsequently enlarged in August 2021 and in recent week to travel in suburban trains.

Presently, CR and WR are running 1702 and 1304 suburban services on Mumbai division of CR and WR respectively which is 95.70% of its total suburban services.

From 28.10.2021, Central and Western Railways will run suburban services to Pre-covid level on Mumbai division of CR and WR i.e. 100% services viz. 1774 on Central Railway and 1367 on Western Railway.

"The decision has been taken considering the increased flow of commuters in local trains," said Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer of Central Railway, adding that though the number of suburban services will increase from Thursday, the existing travel restrictions on suburban locals will remain unchanged. 

At present, only the government employees and essential services staffers are allowed to travel on the suburban locals, apart from the fully-vaccinated citizens, who have completed the 14-day period after the second dose and those who are below 18 years.

"The categories of commuters who were allowed by the state government and approved by the Ministry of Railways were subsequently enlarged in August 2021 and in recent weeks, to travel in suburban trains," the statement reads. Suburban locals are considered the lifeline of Mumbai. Nearly 80 lakh passengers used to travel on the suburban locals before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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