Metro services in Delhi-NCR have been closed for over five months due to the pandemic.
The Ministry of Home Affairs Saturday issued Unlock 4 guidelines, permitting metro rail operations from September 7 in a graded manner.
“Once metro services resume from September 7, the DMRC will strive to facilitate all necessary measures and precautions on its premises to provide a safe travelling experience to its commuters amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Executive Director, Corporate Communications, DMRC, Anuj Dayal said on Sunday.
The Delhi government on Sunday also issued a statement saying, services will resume with all safety precautions.
“For the time being, no tokens will be issued to passengers due to high risk of virus spreading through it. There will be a system of purchasing smart cards at every station and passengers will be able to travel only with smart cards,” Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot was quoted as saying in the statement.
Further details on the metro functioning and its usage by the general public will be shared once the detailed SOP on metros is issued by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in the next few days, DMRC officials reiterated on Sunday.
Awaiting a nod to resume operations, the DMRC in these months, meanwhile, had been training its staff on compliance to COVID-19 safety norms and also on ways to make travel safer for commuters.
Limiting the number of people in lifts, longer halting time for trains at stations to allow commuters to board and alight with social distancing norms are among the measures the Delhi Metro will take to ensure safer travel for its passengers.
“A train on regular days, halts for 10 seconds to 30 seconds at a station, depending on the traffic flow and the nature of station. So, at an interchange facility, the stoppage duration is 30 seconds and 10 seconds or more at other stations. Now, trains will halt for longer duration than 10 seconds or 30 seconds,” a DMRC official said.
Also, 2-3 persons will be permissible inside a lift at any point of time against 8-9 on regular days, he said.
Inside metro premises and train coaches, wearing of masks will be mandatory and social distancing norms will be followed as per government guidelines, and people not wearing masks will not be allowed to enter metro premises, officials said.
One train coach has a capacity to accommodate about 50 passengers on seats and a total of nearly 300 riders in the entire compartment, including standing commuters. With social distancing norms, this number will reduce drastically.
Officials had earlier said they will introduce new smart cards with auto top-up facility, paste stickers on social distancing norms on seats and platform floors so that commuters adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Gahlot also said all passengers arriving at metro stations will be thermally screened, and wearing face cover will be mandatory and those violating the norm will be fined.
“I am glad that after a long wait, the people of Delhi will be able to travel by metro once again. We will ensure COVID-19 protocols on social distancing, thermal screening, smartcard-based ticketing are strictly followed,” he said.
Ensuring contactless travel, digital methods will be enabled to recharge smart cards. All measures will be taken to ensure the mandatory social distance of one metre between passengers in the trains and seats will be marked accordingly, the transport minister said.
“Besides the Delhi Metro personnel, additional Civil Defence volunteers will be deployed to ensure that the stations do not get crowded,” the minister added.
Provision of sanitisers will be made at every station.
The air conditioning in the coaches will be operated as per new guidelines so that there is a constant flow of fresh air in the train. A list of stations, where travel services are being restored is being prepared, which will be made public soon, he said.
The total number of entry points at Delhi Metro stations will be heavily curtailed to ensure compliance with COVID-19 safety norms, officials had earlier said.
The DMRC has 10 lines spanning 242 stations and 264 stations including the Rapid Metro in Gurgaon.