Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) have decided to start an additional 204 suburban services, taking the total to 2,985 from the existing 2,781, on the Mumbai suburban network with effect from 29 January.
WR on Tuesday decided to resume full services from Friday (29 January). However, only the passengers permitted by the government would be allowed to travel.
WR's Chief Public Relation Officer (CPRO) Sumit Thakur informed that WR has decided to start all of its suburban services by increasing the existing 1,201 special services to 1,367 (an addition of 166) from Friday.
CR's CPRO Shivaji Sutar, on the other hand, informed that it has decided to increase its suburban services from the existing 1,580 to 1,685.
"Only passengers permitted by the Ministry of Railways and Government of Maharashtra are allowed to travel by suburban trains," Thakur said. "They are advised to adhere to all norms and SOPs related to COVID-19 while boarding and travelling, and at their destination."
This comes after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Monday that a decision on the resumption of suburban local train services for all in Mumbai would be taken very soon.
In a meeting chaired by the CM, a number of options were discussed, including allowing only essential service providers to travel during peak hours from 7 am to 9.30 am and 4.30 pm to 7 pm, and allowing the rest to commute strictly during non-peak hours. Tweaking the timings of private offices or curtailing working hours to avoid crowding in trains was another suggestion put forward during the meeting.
Mumbai locals were shut down to the public following the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak in March 2020. Services were resumed on 15 June only for essential services staff, as identified by the Government of Maharashtra.
Currently, differently-abled people, cancer patients, women, and lawyers are allowed to travel by local train, along with essential workers. Railway officials informed that about 12 lakh people are commuting by local train daily.