Mumbai Metro One is in the process of drafting a protocol for measures to be taken once public transport is opened. It had already started eliminating the use of plastic tokens in January and replaced it with paper QR tickets. “We will encourage commuters to use the mobile application and smart cards more to limit contact. There will be limited usage of paper tickets too,” said a source in the know.
He added that alternate seats in the coaches that have to be left unoccupied will be marked, entries will be restricted with only a few gates open and thermal scanners and sanitisers will be provided at the entry to the station.
Around 4.5 lakh commuters travel via the 11.5-km corridor.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai Monorail, which relies mainly on plastic tokens for ticketing, is also developing a mobile application for ticketing. “We have a backup system of paper tickets but we will do away with tokens,” said an official who did not wish to be named.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which runs the Monorail, is also planning to develop a common mobility application which will allow commuters to plan and pay for trips across all transport modes.
Several mobility organisations are also suggesting these measures so that public transport can resume even as cities fight the pandemic. ITDP India Programme, in its report, for transport undertakings dealing with bus operations have suggested several measures which include only allowing commuters wearing masks, conductors ensuring queue during boarding and alighting buses and contactless ticketing options and digital payments.
“Covid-19 provides Indian cities with an opportunity to transform their public transport services by improving user experience through technology, investing in public transport as a social good, reforming informal transit services, and promoting walking and cycling for shorter trips,” said Parin Visariya, senior urban development associate at ITDP India Programme.