Mumbai local trains resume for 'essential' govt staff; rules framed

Fishermen sail their boat through sea water at Bandra Reclamation, during ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, in Mumbai
The Indian Railways restarted on Monday Mumbai suburban train services for transporting essential staff identified by the government.

The Western Railways will run 73 pairs of suburban services, including eight between Virar and Dahanu Road, while the Central Railways will run 200 services – including 130 between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and Kasara and 70 services between CSMT and Panvel. The first suburban train started from Virar for Churchgate on Monday morning.

An estimated 125,000 essential staff, as identified by the state government, is expected to travel by these trains. “These special suburban services will not be for general passengers/public & will be strictly for essential staff as identified by the State Government of Maharashtra only,” said a railways statement.

Booking windows will facilitate select staff who have to show their government identity cards. It has been decided to extend the validity of the season ticket to the extent of days lost. “The same shall be permitted at the UTS counters at the stations to those permitted by the State Government. UTS counters may also issue fresh tickets/season tickets to persons permitted by State Government of Maharashtra,” it said.

Railways, as well as the state government, will ensure multiple rounds of checking to ensure only essential staff as identified by the State Government, should board these trains. The railways has urged the state government to ensure all those allowed to travel, are done so after ensuring that they are medically fit and that they are not coming from the containment zone. To allow adequate social distancing in the coaches, unlike its seating capacity to accommodate about 1,200 persons, only about 700 are to be allowed per train.

The state government will stagger the timings of its offices for employees coming from different areas to ensure there is no crowding at the stations and in trains. “Strict imposition of "NO HAWKER & NO PARKING ZONE" in station circulating area at 150 meters radius. Approach roads to stations shall be ensured to enable smooth passage of identified passengers and prevent any mass gathering of the public at station premises by respective Municipal Corporations in their respective areas,” the statement added.

Ambulances will be kept at each station along with the medical staff to deal with the emergency situation arises during the travel of commuters by respective Municipal Corporations.

The national transporter has appealed people not to rush the stations as only essential staff will be allowed to travel.

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