Western Railway will run 500 essential suburban services starting from September 21,150 more than the current 350 in operation currently. This is to ensure that there is no overcrowding and to enable commuters to follow social distancing while commuting.
“We have learnt that the number of commuters has increased since there are more essential service employees being allowed to travel by suburban trains. As a result, social distancing is not being followed, so we have decided to increase the number of services to 500,” said Sumit Thakur, chief public relations officer (CPRO), WR. So far, 1.23 crore passengers have begun travelling on Western Railway.
Meanwhile, the Central Railway is running 355 local trains, with every train carrying 600 to 700 people, as per guidelines. “We are well-equipped to handle the current passenger load. However, for special occasions and needs, we add special trains from time to time,” said Shivaji Sutar, CPRO, CR.
Railway officials have further informed the public that only essential staff as identified by the State Government of Maharashtra are permitted to travel on local trains and, currently, these select suburban services are not open to general passengers. Further, these essential service providers are only allowed to enter railway premises with valid identification cards and QR codes issued by their organisation.