KOLKATA: Metro is inching towards the old normal, easing e-pass norms. Starting Monday, the digital passes will be needed only from 8.30am-11am and from 5pm-8pm. No e-passes will be required on Sundays. Women, kids below 15 years and elderly are already exempted from e-passes.
Metro Railway will also add 12 services by increasing peak-hour frequency from Monday, taking the total number of trains to 216. The first signs of the old normal were visible this week on the city’s transport lifeline as commuters could access the 24 stations of the north-south Metro from 7am to 8.30am and after 8pm without e-passes. The carrier also inched towards its pre-pandemic timings, starting at 7am instead of 8am. The last trains left the terminal Kavi Subhas and Dum Dum stations at 9.30pm instead of 9pm. This way, 14 more services were added to the 190 available till last week.
The resumption of Metro Railway services has been a boon to commuters and significantly eased the city’s travel pains. It is up to commuters now to follow the basic norms, like wearing masks, to keep themselves and the city safe.
Before Covid, the first and last trains left the terminal stations at 6.45am and 9.55pm respectively. “We are enhancing commuting convenience in phases, considering the Covid-19 situation,” Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi had told TOI earlier.
Sanjay Chatterjee, who developed the e-pass technology, said, “The e-pass restrictions are being eased after studying the footfall. Data analysis shows relatively few kids, elderly and women passengers.” Chatterjee said the 400 passenger limit can be maintained if male commuters are allowed without e-passes during lean hours. He said the number of e-pass slots will now be reduced to six. The 8am-10.30pm operations were earlier divided into 14 one-hour slots.