Kolkata: Metro Railway is adding 38 more services from Wednesday when local trains will resume graded services. Anticipating the increased rush with the restart of suburban trains after the lockdown, Kolkata’s transport lifeline is equipping itself and increasing peak-time frequencies from eight minutes to seven minutes along the north-south line from Wednesday.
The Metro Railway was mulling the idea of increased frequencies and added services and waiting for Thursday’s meeting between the state government and railways at Nabanna. On Friday, it issued the formal notification on running 190 trains (95 Up and 95 Down) from 8am to 10am at an interval of seven minutes in the morning and evening peak hours. The last trains will leave Kavi Subhas and Dum Dum stations at 9pm as usual and from Noapara at 8.55pm. This timetable will be followed from Monday to Saturday. Currently, 152 services are operational on weekdays.
On Friday, railway minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “Kolkata metro to run additional 25% services in north-south corridor from November 11.” He added, “Increasing convenience and comfort, the number of services will increase from 152 to 190.”
Metro’s current capacity along the north-south corridor is around 1.5 lakh. To enter any of the 24 stations along the city’s old line, e-passes must be booked in advance so that each train carries 400 passengers at a time. When Metro resumed graded services on September 14, only 20,000 rode. Even as ridership along the north-south corridor was 92,015 on Friday, the passenger count for the old Metro is likely to cross 1 lakh soon.
For Line 2 or the East-West Metro, which was launched only in February, this year, e-passes are not required because the footfall hovers around a paltry 500. On Friday, it was 481.
Sanjay Chatterjee, whom the state has appointed to develop the e-pass technology, said, “We have recommended that services along the north-south line be raised when local trains start.”
Dum Dum Metro station is located on the same premises as the Dum Dum railway station that has three railway lines — the main Dum Dum line, the south line and the Circular Railway. “When local trains start plying, there will be huge pressure on Dum Dum Metro station,” said an official.