Once restrictions are lifted, commuters using metro rail services will have to buy a smartcard or a single use paper ticket instead of tokens and maintain distance from fellow commuters to ensure contactless and safe travel. CMRL has also planned to increase frequency of trains to ensure passengers maintain social distancing if the footfall increases after services resume.
A CMRL official said tokens will be done away with as they are reusable and expose passengers to risk of infection. “We will encourage passengers to buy smartcard, which they can also use to pay for parking their vehicles in the station. Those who do not wish to buy a smartcard will be given a computer-generated paper ticket. They can show the ticket while entering through the automatic fare collection (AFC) gate and drop it at the gate while leaving a station,” the official said.
In about two months, QRcode based ticketing will also be launched, an official said. In this mode passengers can purchase tickets online on the CMRL app and can simply swipe the QR-code that appears on their smartphone against the sensor at the AFC gate.
When services resume, passengers will have to sit in trains at a safe distance from fellow travellers. Officials said only three passengers will be allowed to sit on five-seaters, only one on the two-seater and very few would be allowed to stand in the trains. In case of increase in footfall during peak hours, CMRL officials said they have planned to operate more trains.
“We can operate trains up to three-minute frequency,” an official said. So far, trains are operated at a five minute frequency. Before the lockdown, CMRL’s average daily footfall was 1.16 lakh. Other measures include opening of only one entry in all stations, screening of passengers for body temperature, providing hand sanitizers and guiding passengers to form queues with the help of distance markers on the platform.
Baggage will be scanned, and passengers will be made to walk through a door frame metal detector instead of being frisked by security personnel upon their entry into the station to avoid any contact “We will have crowd controllers at both concourse and platform levels and a policeman at the street level,” an official said.