With state-wide lockdown expected from April 14, the number of local trains could see a drop in the coming days. This railway officials’ claim that they are already seeing a steep drop in the number of daily passengers since the lockdown norms became stringent since April 5.
The daily passengers on both Central and Western Railways were barely 5-7 lakh over the weekend and yet the Indian Railways are operating 95 percent of their total services. Sources said that decision on reducing services will be taken depending on what Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decides after which they will approach the Centre for the same.
The number of passengers, according to railway officials could be much lesser owing to the fact that the railways consider a Monthly pass equivalent to 50 trips for 25 days. However it’s not necessary that a season pass holder has actually travelled during this period. On Monday, the trains were running more or less empty with plenty seats available and platforms too sparse. Moreover, Mumbai is seeing reverse migration as they are heading back to their hometowns and villages, though the Indian Railways terms this normal and simple summer rush.
The suburban railway services opened up for common people from February 1, which according to experts claim to be a major reason behind the spike in this second wave of Covid-19. In February and March there were 35-38 lakh total passengers travelling on bot CR and WR which is almost half of what it was during pre-Covid times.
The railways themselves are facing problems as their employees are falling ill from Corona virus. Recently cases amongst motormen, running staff, commercial staffs, ticket checkers, UTS window staffs etc. have been severely affected by Covid-19. The Jagjivan Ram Railway hospital is already running full as it is struggling to get beds and medicines for the patients.
At present both the railways together are operating 2985 services per day which is 95 percent of the total services. This also included revised timings for common people before 7am, between 12 noon and 4pm and after 9pm. They added 204 services on January 29 since when this revised number of trains are running. During the lockdown until January and only those on essential duties were allowed to take train so as to accommodate 700 passengers per rake.