The Western Railway (WR) on Monday said that the Railways is fully prepared to allow women on local trains and has asked Maharashtra government to assess quantum of passengers and to jointly decide the modalities.
"Maharashtra government requested us on Oct 16 to allow local trains services for women, from 11 am to 3 pm & from 7 pm till end of services for the day. We wrote them back and asked them to assess quantum of passengers and asked them to jointly decide the modalities," Sumit Thakur, Western Railway CPRO, said in a statement.
The Western Railway CPRO said that a letter from Maharashtra government requesting to allow local trains services for women, starting 11 am to 3 pm and from 7 pm till end of services for the day was received on October 16, and "on the same day, the reply was sent by WR to Maharashtra government, saying that Railways is in full preparedness.”
"Again discussion in this regard was held on 18th October with state government to finalise the modalities. Ministry of Home affairs (MHA) have also looked into the issue and have asked State Government Authorities to finalize the necessary modalities in view of COVID- 19 pandemic and convey the same to railways," Sumit Thakur said.
In order to maintain social distancing and avoid crowding, the Western Railway has extended its suburban services to 700, which includes two ladies specials. "Western Railways is currently running 700 special suburban services, including 2 Ladies Special services during the peak hours and similarly Central Railway is running total 706 special suburban services," Sumit Thakur said.
Sumit Thakur further added that the recent increase was done when the number of special suburban services was increased from 506 to 700 by Western Railway with effect from October 15. "At present, the daily ridership of WR's suburban section is carrying approx 3.2 lakh passengers," he said.
The local trains were suspended for the general public since the lockdown began on March 22. The Western Railway and Central Railway resumed their Mumbai suburban services over mainline and Harbour line on June 15. These special suburban services were only for general passengers/public and were strictly meant for ‘essential staff’ as identified by the state government. Those working in private sector cannot use them, due to which most of them are struggling to reach their workplaces.