Though Metro Railway hasn’t formally announced its resumption date of September 14, the authorities on Wednesday issued an official release on the September 13 special services for NEET aspirants. In all, 66 pairs of trains will ply on that day from 11am to 7pm. Candidates can show their admit cards to access the stations. They may use smart cards. Those who don’t have one will be given paper tickets.
From September 14, only the north-south line will operate from 8am to 8pm. The last train will leave at 7pm from terminal stations Kavi Subhas and Noapara. Stoppage time will increase from 20 seconds to 30 seconds. There will be no galloping service and trains will stop at all the 24 stations.
According to the dos and don’ts mentioned in the passenger protocol, social distancing has to be maintained while standing and sitting in coaches and while using the escalators. Inside the station, commuters can’t touch handrails of escalators, staircases and walls. And be prepared for punitive action if you spit on the station premises. Alternate seats — those marked ‘X’ — must be kept vacant. Instead of the 2,000-plus passengers in an eight-coach train, only 400 people — 128 seated and 274 standing — will travel at a time. Fifty passengers — 16 seated and 34 standing — will be allowed in each coach.
“Spitting at station premises is strictly prohibited and punishable offence,” read the SOP, asking commuters to wear masks that cover the mouth and nose and strictly maintain the 6ft distance from co-passengers at ticket counters, AFC gates and on platforms. Only three persons can use the elevators at a time.
Commuters will have to click on ‘https//pathadisha.com/metro’ to generate an e-pass to be shown to Kolkata Police personnel before entering a station. Metro officials can show their identity cards and contractual staff their certificates issued by the authorities to walk in. Thermal checking will be done to allow only asymptomatic people in. Downloading the Aarogya Setu is compulsory for both commuters and Metro Railway personnel.
Food and beverage kiosks at underground stations will remain closed. Those at viaduct or surface stations will remain open. Stations in containment zones will remain closed. The SOP stressed on repeated cleaning of high-contact surfaces like escalator handrails, elevator buttons and booking counters. Frequent announcements will be made to guide passengers with Covid-19 norms. A short film on dos and don’ts will be screened continuously on platform TVs.
On Wednesday, Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi went on his second round of inspections. He covered all the stations south of Park Street. “The GM checked the exits and entries (in most stations, only one exit and entry point will be opened), the sanitizer dispenser and the markings for social distancing inside coaches and station premises,” said an official. On Tuesday, Joshi had inspected the stations north of Park Street.