Though metro services remains suspended in Noida like the rest of the country, the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) has been running round trips from Noida to Greater Noida every day to keep the system functional.
The NMRC said that while some staff members have been told to work from home, sanitation workers and other staff engaged in maintenance of the depot, trains and stations have to report to their work stations. The NMRC said it has taken various safety measures as per good practices to ensure trains are ready to run once the lockdown is lifted.
The corporation runs the Aqua Line metro which connects Noida to Greater Noida. Metro services are currently suspended till May 3, in view of the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease. However, regular cleanliness and minimum maintenance is being done to ensure the train system remains in shape. Officials said the upkeep of the trains, stations and other systems associated with the smooth functioning of the metro are performed on a regular basis.
Ritu Maheshwari, managing director, NMRC said, “Limited number of staff members have been deployed to take care of the upkeep, running requirement and cleaning operations.” She added that the trains make three round trips every day to ensure the network is healthy and is ready to ferry commuters once the lockdown is lifted.
The corporation has also engaged its feeder buses for the distribution of food items to those in need of assistance from the community kitchens being run by the Noida Authority during the lockdown.
The NMRC owns 19 sets of trains out of which 13 are used to ferry passengers, while six are kept on standby at the depot station on any given day during normal operations. The corporation said that one set of trains makes round trips during the morning, afternoon and evening. “Different sets of trains are picked up to ensure upkeep and health of all trains. The overhead transmission line is live 24×7 to prevent cable theft or tampering,” said an NMRC official, requesting not to be named.
Each set of train has four coaches and while on the run, they may or may not stop at each station. If there is a need for taking security personnel and other staff from one place to another, the Aqua Line trains are used.
In normal days, the metro service is available from 6am to 10.45pm with a frequency of 7 minutes, 30 seconds during peak hours and 10 minutes during non-peak hours.
The corporation is also taking other precautionary measures for safety. All vehicles reaching the stations and the depot are disinfected and sanitised. “The security guards at the spot check the temperature of the visitors/employees before allowing their entry. No person without a mask is allowed inside the premises,” it said in a statement.
It added that the metro stations are cleaned, especially the manned and frequently touched areas, on a daily basis. The metro employees live in the staff colony in Greater Noida and the NMRC regularly conducts sanitization exercises of the entire colony for safety. It also holds video conferencing with the employees at regular intervals.
The NMRC has 650 permanent and contractual staff and a section of them are called on duty depending on the roster during the lockdown period.