The Kolkata Metro on Wednesday registered its highest-ever drop in daily ridership in its more than three-decade history as the COVID-19 global pandemic and ensuing government advisories on social distancing forced more people to avoid public transport. Data indicate that 4.6 lakh commuters used the metro on Wednesday against an average weekday traffic of six lakh passengers, a decline of about 1.4 lakh.
“We have never witnessed such a drop in passengers,” Chief Public Relations Officer of Kolkata Metro Indrani Banerjee told The Hindu. “The drop in passengers is almost over a lakh to the average number of people commuting on a weekday,” she said, adding that the decline was clearly a result of concerns over the spread of the coronavirus infection, which was forcing more and more people to stay indoors.
Fall in revenue
As a result of the drop in the number of passengers the Kolkata Metro has suffered a loss in daily revenue, running into lakhs of rupees. While on an average weekday the Kolkata Metro earns a revenue of about ₹85 lakh, on Wednesday the figure fell to around ₹60 lakh.
On February 3, the underground commuter railway network had registered a record number of passengers when as many as 6.33 lakh commuters used the service helping the Kolkata Metro earn ₹1 crore in a day.
One of the primary modes of transport in the city, the Kolkata Metro was the country’s first metro railway system when it started operations in 1984. It now connects Noapara near Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport to Kavi Subhash Metro station near Garia, on the North-South axis of Kolkata over a length of 27.2 km. The Metro Railways has started making announcements on platforms and trains on the safety precautions people need to take to prevent infection. The Metro authorities are also trying to sanitise the plastic tokens issued to passengers.