Press Trust of india

Delhi Metro trains run with 100 pc seating capacity; over 17.5L passenger journeys

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New Delhi:  In view of the improved coronavirus situation, the Delhi Metro services began running with full seating capacity from Monday, but there is still no provision for standing travel for commuters, officials said.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), till Sunday, had been running trains with 50 per cent seating capacity since June 7 when the services resumed after a long hiatus.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Metro in a statement on Monday night said the passenger journeys observed till 8 PM stood at around 17.5 lakh.

Journey or line utilisation is calculated by the number of corridors passengers use to reach their destinations.

“The average passenger journeys on Mondays, since the resumption of metro services on June 7, with the stipulation of 50 per cent seating travel with no standing, was around 16 lakh till July 25,” it added.

Nine flying squads were deputed across corridors to check Covid norm violations, and till 8 PM, 432 passengers were deboarded from trains, the officials said, adding about 159 passengers were penalised.

Also, to handle increase in volume of commuters, 16 additional entry gates have been made operational at 16 stations (one at each station) across the network from Monday onwards to facilitate the movement of passengers.

In view of the latest guidelines issued on Saturday by the city government regarding Covid containment, metro services began this morning with full seating capacity. However, there is still no provision for standing travel inside the coaches, as has been since June 7, officials said.

However, a video shared on Twitter by a user @sandeep662003 purportedly showed a crowded carriage, with many standing commuters riding the train.

Also, crowding at many stations, especially interchange facilities like Rajiv Chowk, Central Secretariat, Kashmere Gate, remained an issue, but DMRC officials said efforts are being made to minimize it, while maintaining the Covid protocols.

Rajesh Kumar, a regular office-goer, said he took the Yellow Line from Saket to Central Secretariat in the morning, when the crowd wasn’t much inside the carriage, but on return journey, queues at the station got longer and more people travelled inside coaches.

“There have been some tweets, photos and videos going viral, wherein it is seen that people are standing inside the train though there is no standing travel allowed as per the revised guidelines coming into effect from today,” the DMRC said in a statement.

A DMRC spokesperson said many people are under an impression that full seating capacity means full-fledged capacity, because of which more people than number of seats in a coach may be entering into a compartment.

“Today is the very first day of the revised guidelines and many people are still not fully aware of the fact that the Delhi Metro is offering only one-fifth (20 per cent) of its passenger capacity in a train and not 100 per cent as is the general impression which has been created in the past couple of days through various reports,” the statement said.

Also, some people are still under the impression that alternate seats are not to be occupied, as was the norm till Sunday, and preferred to stand during travel causing such a temporary situation in certain trains in some sections, it added.

Sources said the stickers on alternate seats are still intact as there is a threat of the third wave of the pandemic, and Covid-19 situation in Delhi is very dynamic, which can change any time.

The DMRC said it has has taken note of such a situation arising in morning peak hours and to avoid its recurrence, it will further strengthen its regulated entry and also advises public to occupy seats (all) only during travel and abstain from travel by standing as it is still not permissible according to the guidelines of the authorities concerned.

“In addition, regular flying squads will also keep a random check across the corridors to counsel and prevent people from doing so,” the statement said.

According to the DMRC statement, between June 7 and July 25, the average number of passengers counselled daily stood at around 470, while about 285 passengers were penalised daily on an average.

The DMRC said as and when further relaxations are announced by the authorities, it will ensure that all steps are taken from its end to provide ease of entry and convenient travel to the general public.

Early in the day, services were briefly delayed due to a tremor, DMRC officials said.

Around 8 AM, the DMRC said “mild tremors were confirmed around 6.42 AM. “As a standard procedure, trains were run on cautionary speed and stationed at next platform. The services are now running normally,” it tweeted.

Sources earlier had said each coach has a capacity of about 300 riders — 50 seated and 250 standing. Since standing commuters are not allowed, so a maximum of 50 people can travel in each carriage.

And, effectively the carrying capacity is about 17-18 per cent which was, 10 per cent since June 7, due to the 50 per cent rule, they said.

According to the 50 per cent rule, passengers were to sit on alternate seats to ensure social distancing.

The DMRC again appealed to the public to travel by the metro “only when it is absolutely necessary and observe all Covid-related travel protocols in place for their own and everyone else’s safety in this fight against the pandemic”.

DMRC services were fully suspended since May 10 in view of the Covid-induced lockdown in Delhi. It was first imposed on April 19, and successively extended by the city government. It resumed services with 50 per cent seating capacity from June 7 onwards.

On Monday, 39 cases of COVID-19 and one death were recorded in Delhi.

DMRC has 10 lines spanning 242 stations, and 264 stations including the Rapid Metro in Gurgaon.

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