A total of 10 AC Locals hit the tracks on Thursday after a 7-month hiatus
The Mumbai locals are slowly and steadily gaining momentum amid the coronaviurs pandemic and with the resumption of 10 AC locals on Thursday, a new normal was achieved by the Railway authorities. Within one day of re-start, the AC local ridership tally stands at 310, with 300 season pass holders and 10 with journey tickets. Besides these, the Western and Central Railways resumed 194 and 28 additional suburban trains respectively boosting the efficiency of city commute.
AC Locals vs Coronavirus
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The Railway authorities, along with the railway protection force (RPF) and government railway police (GRP) personnel conducted the thermal screenings of passengers. At present, no separate services have been introduced and the officials state that decisions regarding the same will be taken after the passenger count is evaluated. The carriage temperatures have not been altered and are maintained at a
Though this resumption has shared the load off the non-AC, ordinary locals, the Passengers' Association has raised numerous health-related concerns regarding the resumed services of AC locals, with the primary ones being lack of ventilation and provisions of social distancing inside the trains. The possibility of travel by asymptomatic individual(s) holds grounds in spite of the thermal screening, and with no ventilation is the closed AC carriages, that circulate the same air, the threat of infection spread is maximised.
The Railways need to establish a duct system which circulates fresh air inside the train carriages, completely removing the inside air, like those used by metros. A provision for social distancing inside the trains and a cap on number of passengers should also be laid down to arrest the spread of the coronavirus within the closed carriages.