Following a meeting chaired by the Maharashtra Chief Minister and top-bureaucrats, on the reopening of local trains for all commuters, the Western Railways has begun to chalk out a plan to resume full-services, with 1,367 transits in a day by January 29. Though the railway board is still awaiting the official orders, various ways to reopen locals for all are being worked upon, wherein permissions to all commuters may be granted soon, during non-peak hours initially.
Locals for all commuters, soon to be a reality!
The Maharashtra state government is viewing to resume locals for all-commuters soon and in a meeting chaired by the CM himself, several avenues, protocols and feasibilities to restart these services were discussed. In a statement issued by the CMO, it was highlighted that the threat of COVID-19 spread has not subsided, however, various aspects to take the idea of resuming locals for all was approached through different ways, ensuring crowding is avoided.
As per reports, the Western Line may be the first to receive permissions to reopen services for all commuters, though a state order confirming this is yet to be issued.
The General Manager of the Central Railways informed that the Railways will only be able to take a decision after it receives the state's permission. At present, the Western line operates 1,201 local train services while the Central Railway runs 1,580 services a day.
Pandemic hit Mumbai locals witnessed reduced services, low ridership
Mumbai's lifeline, its local trains shut services after the advent of coronavirus lockdown in March 2020. Though the services resumed partially later for a certain category of commuters to honour the norms of social distancing during the pandemic. At present, only people working for essential services, government employees, and women(during non-peak hours only) are allowed to travel in local trains. Gradually, the services along the suburban network were opened to shuttle longer distances, at heightened numbers.
Currently, about 1/4th of the people travel in the locals, as opposed to its 80 lac ridership pre corona. Experts have suggested that Mumbai locals won't be able to revive to its pre-pandemic commuter-strength given the restricted attendance at workplaces and the development of the work from home culture.