Mumbai, Oct.Oct 28 : As the Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra appears to be coming under control, the state government on Wednesday mooted throwing open the suburban local trains in Mumbai for everybody, in a phased manner.
Ahead of the fresh set of Unlock guidelines, the state has written to the General Managers of Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) and the Commissioner of Police, Railways on the proposal.
“The state is looking to open up the local train services to the general public while enduring adherence to Covid-19 protocols,” Disaster Management Secretary Kishore Raje Nimbalkar said in letters to the top railway officers.
The government has also suggested a schedule with timings for the general commuters – who are not part of the essential services – permitting them to travel during the non-peak hours.
Accordingly, persons with valid tickets/passes shall be allowed to travel by the first of the day till 7.30 am, again from 11 am-4.30 pm, and then from 8 pm till the last service of the day.
Those in essential services with valid QR code shall be allowed to commute between 8-10.30 am and 5-7.30 pm daily, besides making provision for one Ladies Special train every hour.
Nimbalkar said that the proposal would need adequate planning by deploying additional train services to handle the expected extra crowds of commuters, and asked the two railways to provide their inputs on the same.
Though CR and WR officials declined to comment, sources said the proposal would be put up before the Railway Board for its final okay before implementing.
The WR and CR suburban train services are considered the lifeline of the country’s commercial capital Mumbai and the adjoining Thane, Palghar and Raigad.
On an average, daily around 3,200 services are operated for around 21 hours, transporting around 85-lakh commuters daily to and from their homes and workplaces.
At present, however, the suburban sections are running barely 1,500 services most for people in essential services and other specified categories based on QR codes, and all women are permitted at only specific hours.