The suburban train services were suspended on March 22, 2020 on account of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
After running restricted operations for over a year, Mumbai's local train services are all set to resume with 100% seating capacity from today. This is being done in order to account for the increased flow of commuters on the trains. Till now, the Central and Western Railways had been operating with 1,702 and 1,304 services respectively, which account for 95.75% of their total capacity. Today onwards, this number will go up to 1,774 in the CR division and 1,367 in WR, thus making complete use of the total capacity on the two lines.
Train travel restrictions continue in Mumbai
While all the suburban 'local' services have been resumed, the travel restrictions still remain in place. Government employees and those working in essential services have uninhibited access to the suburban locals. Additionally, fully-vaccinated citizens who have completed a 14-day quarantine after the administration of the second dose can also use the local trains.
Besides, children aged 18 or below can further avail of local travel. All norms of social distancing and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) laid out by the CR and WR should to be followed strictly to ensure pandemic preacaution, added reports.
The city's residents have welcomed this development with open arms. For Akruti Singh, a resident of Chembur, it presents a symbolic relief. She says, "The local (train services) form the pulse of Mumbai. Their return to full capacity symbolises a return to full health for our city."
Her views are echoed by Arnav Agarwal, a college student from Bandra. He says, "The reattainment of pre-pandemic status of the locals signifies the reattainment of pre-pandemic status of our city".
While there is reason to be overjoyed, one must still maintain caution, warns Aayan Ali Shah, a resident of Juhu. He says, "The Pandemic is not over yet. As we take full advantage of this crucial service, we must also make sure that we follow all the rules laid out by the authorities and travel only when we need to."