February 02, 2021
One thing that is synonymous with Mumbai is its local trains. Considered as the backbone of the city that never sleeps, these local trains have been a constant. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, all forms of public transportation were brought to standstill. The bus services began a few months ago and now that the situation seems well under control, our beloved Mumbai local trains are back on the tracks.
Starting 1 February, the suburban trains services will be back in operation for the general public in fixed time slots, announced Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office. This comes as a much-awaited and much-needed relief for Mumbaikars, majority of who depend on Mumbai local trains for daily travels for personal and professional purposes. However, travelling by train this time around will not be the same as the pre-pandemic era. One of the key highlights about the trains is that they will be running in time slots:
# From first train to 7:00 am
# From 12.00 noon to 4:00 pm
# From 9:00 pm to last train
During these time slots, the trains will be open to all travellers/passengers but In between these timings, particularly for those in essential services (frontline workers and healthcare staff), single women travellers and those with a special state government pass - will be allowed to travel.
# Masks are compulsory. If any passenger is found travelling without a mask, they will be charged with a fine.
# Random checking will be conducted in coordination with the GRP and the commercial department to prevent the entry of unauthorised people.
# Platform staff will be briefed about the revised nature of duties and what is the protocol and behaviour to be followed in a compromised situation with a passenger.
Western Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Sumit Thakur said: "We have formed teams and sanitisation of cabins and seating areas is being done. We will be increasing entry and exit points, ticket booking counters with time. Our staff including Railway Police Force officials will be available to regulate the crowd." He has also requested Mumbaikars to adhere to Covid-19 travel safety guidelines in order to reduce the spread of the virus and ensure smooth operations of trains.
In the fast-paced environment of a city like Mumbai, trains form an integral part of daily life and functioning. The Mumbai local trains had been brought to a hold last March.
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