With Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinting at more relaxations during lockdown 4.0 and the government saying that India should learn to live with this changed reality post the pandemic outbreak, the Delhi Metro is slowly gearing up to restart operations.
While no clear time frame has been given by when services will restart, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said it has started cleaning stations and testing signals.
"The date of the opening of the Delhi Metro has still not been finalized and will be notified to the public in due course. All systems of the metro including the signaling, electrical, rolling stock, tracks etc will have to be tested in detail before services are ultimately started to ensure full safety for our commuters," said DMRC Executive Director Anuj Dayal.
The DMRC is also working out the detailed cleaning and maintenance procedures in view of the current pandemic. The exercise is understandably an exhaustive one as it involves cleaning and maintenance of 264 stations across Delhi-NCR and over 2,200 coaches. Meanwhile, over 1,100 escalators and 1,000 lifts too need to be cleaned to make sure passengers are not infected when services resume.
As and when the services resume, there will be strict adherence to social distancing. But how can Delhi Metro ensure that when its coaches are thick with people particularly during the peak hours? The DMRC says, it is "being worked upon" to ensure resumption of services, as and when doesn't mean assembly of large number of passengers in trains and metro premises. However, that will be quite a challenge for it given the number of daily commuters who take the metro every single day.