To reduce overcrowding in suburban local trains, the Central Railway and Western Railway have decided to run 610 additional services starting November 1.
Taking to Twitter, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wrote: "Railways to run 610 more daily special suburban services in Mumbai from 1st Nov, taking the total number of services to 2020. This will help maintain social distancing, avoid overcrowding and enhance passenger convenience."
According to a joint release issued by the Central Railway and Western Railway, with the addition of these services, the number of special suburban services will be increased to 2020. Of the 610 services, 314 will be run on the Central Railway network, while the remaining 296 will be plied on Western Railway.
"In order to maintain social distancing and to avoid crowding, Railways have decided to increase the daily suburban services from 1410 to 2020 with effect from 1.11.2020," the joint release said.
The Railways has appealed to travellers to "follow medical and social protocols as mandated for COVID-19".
Meanwhile, Western Railway CPRO Sumit Thakur said that out of the increased 296 services, 76 services during morning peak hours and 51 services during evening peak hours have been increased for the convenience of commuters. "the increased 296 services also includes 4 more Ladies Special services [4 Slow services - 1 in UP direction between Borivali- Churchgate (07.40 hrs - 08.47 hrs), 1 in UP direction between Bhayandar- Churchgate (09.06 hrs - 10.30 hrs), 1 in UP direction between Vasai Road¬Churchgate (10.04 hrs - 11.30 hrs) and 1 in DOWN direction between Churchgate -Borivali (17.39 hrs - 18.48 hrs)]," he added.
The Railways has been operating 1,410 services on Mumbai's suburban network, of which 706 are run on the Central line and 704 on Western Railway.
The Railways resumed local train services for persons employed in emergency and essential services on June 15, and has recently allowed lawyers and foreign consulate staff to commute.
Earlier this week, the Maharashtra government proposed to the Railways to allow general public to board the suburban services during non-peak hours. The Railways has, however, stated that it can only carry over 22 lakh passengers, instead of 80 lakh it used to ferry before the COVID-19 pandemic.