New Delhi, India (Urban Transport News): After due considerations and keeping the safety of the public in mind and as per COVID-19 Unlock 4.O guidelines issued by Ministery of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India, Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Housing & Urban Affairs Minister today released the standard operating procedures (SOP) for safe commuting via metro rails across the country. It will open services in a calibrated manner after a period of 5and a half months.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has announced the SOP guidelines for metro operations in a media interaction today. As per MHA order No 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 29.8.2020, metro services will resume from 7th September 2020 in a graded manner. For this purpose, SOP guidelines have been prepared by the MoHUA, which have been concurred by the MHA.
Metro operations to be resumed in a graded manner. Metros having more than one line should open different lines starting from 7th September 2020 onwards in a graded manner so that all corridors become operational by 12th September 2020. Daily hours of operations may be staggered initially, which needs to be increased gradually with the resumption of full revenue service by 12th September 2020. Frequency of trains to be regulated to avoid passenger crowding at stations and in trains.
Stations/ entry-exit gates in containment zones to be closed.
In order to ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains to be done.
Wearing a face mask to be mandatory for all passengers and staff. Metro rail corporations may make arrangements for the supply of masks on payment basis to the persons arriving without a mask.
Only asymptomatic persons to be allowed to travel after thermal screening at entry into the stations. Symptomatic persons should be advised to go to nearby COVID Care Centre/Hospital for testing/medical attention. Use of the Aarogya Setu App to be encouraged.
Provision of sanitizers to be made at the entry point of the stations for use by passengers. Sanitization of all areas having human interface viz. equipment, train, working area, lift, escalators, handrail, AFC gate, toilets etc. needs to be done at regular intervals.
Use of Smart Card and cashless/online transactions to be encouraged. Tokens and paper slips/ticket to be used with proper sanitization.
Adequate dwell time at stations to be provided to enable smooth boarding/deboarding ensuring social distancing. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing.
Passengers to be advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick scanning.
Operation of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system as per the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) & Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) guidelines. Intake of fresh air in the air-conditioning system to be increased to the extent possible.
Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign to be launched for passenger and staff through electronic/print/social media, poster, banner, hoarding, website etc.
Metro rail corporations to keep close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowd outside the station and to deal with contingencies.
"The frequency of trains will now be 5-7 mins which will include the time for disinfection of trains at each turnover. The operations beginning 7 September 2020 will be reviewed for a week & then further revisions will be decided," said Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
Based on the SOP issued by MoHUA, Metro train services in Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gujarat and Lucknow will be resumed in a graded manner from 7th September 2020. However, keeping in view of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, the Government of Maharashtra has decided not to resume the operation of the metro during September 2020. Hence, Metro services in Mumbai and Nagpur shall commence from October 2020 or as State Government may decide further.