Delhi Metro resumes services after 4 weeks; many penalised for not wearing mask

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New Delhi, Jun 7 (PTI) The Delhi Metro resumed services on Monday after a hiatus of four weeks in view of the improved Covid-19 situation in the national capital, albeit with 50 per cent seating capacity and no provision for standing travel for commuters, officials said.

DMRC services were fully suspended since May 10 in view of the Covid-induced lockdown in Delhi. It was first imposed on April 19, and successively extended by the city government.

According to a senior DMRC official, the line utilisations performed till about 8 PM was around 4.5 lakh on Monday, adding this was in view of the drastically reduced capacity owing to adherence to guidelines issued by the government on June 5.

Also, about 4,000 smart cards were sold, he said.

Journey or line utilisation is calculated by the number of corridors passengers use to reach their destinations.

Metro services initially ran partially, catering only to people from the field of essential services, but from May 10, it was suspended in view of the rising cases amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, trains started plying in the morning, with the scheduled starting time for services being 6 AM.

Only half of the available trains were inducted into service with a frequency ranging from nearly five to 15 minutes on different lines, officials said.

The move comes in the wake of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announcing various relaxations on Saturday, allowing Metro trains to operate with half capacity and shops in markets and malls to reopen on odd-even basis from June 7 as he asserted that the city's economy needs to be revived in view of improving COVID-19 situation.

Delhi recorded 231 fresh COVID-19 cases, the lowest in over two-and-a-half months and 36 fatalities on Monday, while the positivity rate stood dipped to 0.36 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here.

'The number of trains will be inducted in full strength in a graded manner by Wednesday and thereafter, services will be available as per normal frequency which was available before the lockdown,' the DMRC had earlier said.

Passengers will be allowed to travel by sitting only on alternate seats with no provision for standing travel till further directions, officials said.

'To ensure compliance with Covid appropriate behaviour inside Metro premises, around 15 Metro stations were intermittently closed briefly during morning and evening peak hours,' the senior official said.

Special nine flying squads were also deployed to randomly check inside trains for any kind of violations and counsel people to refrain from doing so for their own and everyone's safety, the DMRC said.

'Till 8 pm, 84 passengers were advised to get down from coaches for travelling in standing position, 73 were penalised for not wearing mask and 106 were counselled to follow social distancing and wear mask properly,' the official added.

'In order to ensure social distancing and compliance to 50 per cent seating inside trains, public is also advised to take extra time for their daily commute and exhibit Covid appropriate behaviour outside the stations also while waiting for their turn to enter the station,' the DMRC had said in a statement soon after the CM had announced relaxations in lockdown norms.

From general commuters to sanitation workers and station staff to security personnel, all expressed happiness to see Delhi Metro services being resumed, even as the DMRC urged people to use the rapid transit system only when necessary.

Sameer Khan, 25, who works at a leading private facility in south Delhi, said, he was waiting for Metro trains to hit the tracks again.

'I work in a hospital, so I have to travel every day. In strict lockdown days, I used to take cabs, which is not very safe in view of Covid. Metro, I feel is very safe, and today I took it from Badarpur to Lajpat Nagar station. All safety norms being followed inside coaches and elsewhere,' he said.

The DMRC has 10 lines spanning 242 stations, and 264 stations including the Rapid Metro in Gurgaon. PTI KND CK

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