Amid surging demands of the local trains, the authorities had earlier hinted that the services may be restarted for all.
The Maharashtra Health Minister on Wednesday, stated that the decision of allowing commuters to board suburban trains in Mumbai will be taken into consideration only after analysing the trend of COVID-19 cases in New Year. Presently, only a few sections of the general population, including essential services and women, have been granted access to the train services. Earlier, the railway authorities had also extended their permission allocated to lawyers practising in courts and registered clerks of advocates, to travel in special Mumbai suburban trains during specific time slots.
Pre-pandemic era witnessed approx. 7.5 million commuters dailyin suburban trains
The Health Minister further mentioned that the state government is keeping a checking on the COVID-19 curve and upon observation, if it is found that the cases are not spiralling upwards, then a decision will be implemented regarding the resumption of the locals. As per reports, before the outbreak of the pandemic, the suburban train facilities were availed by more than 7.5 million commuters daily, which is exactly why the halt on the services has been imperative. Amid surging demands of the local trains, the authorities had earlier hinted that the services may be restarted at the beginning of the new year.
Just a few days ago, the Central Railway on an 'experimental basis', introduced 10 new AC local train services on the central line, running between Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja Terminus (CSMT) to Kalyan, replacing the already existing locals. To further make travel easier for Mumbaikars, the railway ministry allowed all passengers in possession of a valid and confirmed long-distance rail ticket to travel in the Mumbai locals.
Functioning of Mumbai locals had come to a stop with the imposition of a nationwide lockdown
The functioning of the Mumbai locals had come to a stop with the imposition of a nationwide lockdown back in March but it was resumed in a graded manner, from the mid of June for essential workers and police officials. Recently, the teaching and non-teaching staff were allowed to commute via Mumbai locals and students who were appearing for Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education Examination, were also accorded with the same relaxation.