Limited Hours, Stations Shut At Containment Zones: Metro Rules Amid Covid

Coronavirus: The frequency of metro trains will be regulated to avoid crowding at stations and in trains

Unlock4: Delhi Metro will reopen from September 7 amid the coronavirus crisis

New Delhi:

The entry and exit gates of metro rail networks at containment zones will remain shut, and waiting time will increase to 5-7 minutes as trains will be sanitised at turnaround points. These are some of the guidelines the centre has issued as part of its Unlock4 plan to restart metro trains from September 7 after months of lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis.

Passengers are encouraged to use the coronavirus tracker app Aarogya Setu.

"Initially, we will open only one line and the operating hours will be 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 8 pm," Delhi Metro Rail Corporation chief Mangu Singh said.

Only asymptomatic people are allowed to board the trains, Junior Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told reporters today.

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"We focused on Delhi Metro first because it has the most extensive network," he said. "Metros having more than one line should open different lines from September 7 in a graded manner so that all corridors become operational by September 12," Mr Puri said.

The frequency of trains will be regulated to avoid crowding at stations and in trains. "Use of smart cards, cashless and online transactions will be encouraged," he said.

Based on these guidelines, the metro authorities in Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bengaluru, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur), Kolkata, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have prepared their standard operating procedures, Mr Puri said. Maharashtra has, however, decided not to resume metro operation this month.

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For Delhi Metro, its managing director Mangu Singh said all lines will not open at once. "We may open only one-two lines in the beginning and make things normal by September 12. Yellow Line will open on September 7. We will see how it goes, and then decide to open Blue and Pink Lines on September 9," Mr Singh told reporters.

Delhi Metro will open Red, Green and Violet Lines on September 10. Magenta and Grey Lines will open on September 11 and Airport Express Line on September 12.

"If we find (guidelines') violations at any station, then the train won't stop at that station… Please use with discipline because it will be reviewed after a week," Mr Singh said.

The centre is opening up the country in phases after months of coronavirus lockdown brought economic activity to a standstill. Coronavirus cases across the country continue to rise, with India reporting biggest one-day spikes consistently.