The Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro has been running crowded in the past few days. So from Monday the Metro-1 authorities have decided to increase the number of services to 280 from the earlier 256 services. This is their attempt to address the overcrowding issue, which is taking place even though there is surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.
This takes the total operational capacity from the previous 64 percent to 70 percent starting March 22. According to officials from Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), from Monday they will be running 280 train trips on the VAG corridor as against 256 trips earlier.
“This will ensure creating additional space and ensuring better social distancing as a measure to fight the Covid surge. Currently, the daily ridership is 1.1 lakh as against 4.5 lakh before the Covid-19 pandemic,” said an official from MMOPL.
Currently, at the stations and metro trains, one can see a substantial crowd travelling in this mode of transport especially during peak hours. There are long queues on platforms with little space between two people. Inside the metro coaches, they have marked stickers keeping alternate seats for people to sit. However, people stand close by even though they might not sit next to each other.
The MMOPL officials said that they have formed internal committee to monitor Covid appropriate behaviour and protocols. Also, setting-up of health desk at entry points offering sanitizers to all commuters and checking body temperature is being done. Safe distancing markers are also placed at stations to guide commuters to maintain social distancing though it’s barely followed.
They have discontinued plastic tokens so as to curb Covid-19 spread. Instead commuters are asked to opt for digital tickets, smart cards and paper QR tickets for which large scanners are kept which can be scanned using mobile phones. Regular announcements and videos inside trains to create awareness around Covid are played. If any commuter found flouting norms like not wearing a mask then he/she is counselled and later fined Rs 200 under Section 59 of The Metro Railways Operations and Maintenance Act.
On February 8, it had recorded ridership of more than one lakh which is more than 350 per cent of its weekday ridership of October 2020. Recently they increased daily services from 240 to 256 on weekdays. Currently, the Metro services are available with first train from Versova at 6.50 am and last train from Ghatkopar at 10.15 pm.