7 months after services resume, 310 passengers travel on Mumbais AC locals
There has been no change in the temperature setting inside the AC locals and it has been maintained at 24 degrees. (HT file photo)
Seven months after they ceased operations owing to the Covid-19 outbreak and the ensuing lockdown, the air-conditioned local trains resumed services on Thursday. Ten AC train services operated on Thursday between Churchgate and Virar railway stations, on which 310 passengers travelled.
Of these, 300 were season ticket pass holders, while the remaining 10 had journey tickets. The railway authorities, along with the railway protection force (RPF) and government railway police (GRP) personnel conducted thermal screenings of passengers outside the stations. “AC local train services have resumed and all the passengers travelling are being screened. We will further evaluate the number of passengers and later introduce more services.” said a senior Western Railway official.
There has been no change in the temperature setting inside the AC locals and it has been maintained at 24 degrees.
Passenger associations’ have raised concerns with the resumption of AC trains, citing the increased risk in the spread of Covid-19 owing to the lack of proper ventilation.
“The decision to resume AC trains is concerning, as there is no social distancing inside compartments. The train does not have adequate ventilation facilities and if any asymptomatic person travels on one compartment, it could pose a risk of the virus spreading to other passengers onboard, too,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.
Despite repeated attempts, Western Railway officials had not responded to HT’s queries over the issue of ventilation on AC locals till the time of going to press.
The Western Railway had suspended AC local trains on March 20, while local train services were suspended in the city on March 23, to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the city.
Western Railway started 700 daily train services, while Central Railway is operating 481 locals in the city for employees working in the essential services sector, the differently-abled passengers and cancer patients.