Eastern Railway Authorities resumed service of suburban trains with proper safety measures though social distancing among the commuters still remains uncertain.
Kolkata: Social distancing is missing in the newly resumed suburban trains services, connecting the adjoining districts of West Bengal with Kolkata.
The authorities of Eastern Railways initially resumed the services of suburban trains with 300 trains running each day. “Due to the surge in the number of passengers we have increased the number of trains running each day from 300 to 700 approx,” says the Public Relation Officer of Eastern Railways. “Thermal screening and wearing masks are mandatory for each commuter. Every alternate seat inside the trains has been barred to enforce social distancing.”
Apart from alternate seating arrangements in coaches with every other seat being cross marked for maintaining physical distance between two passengers, the railways have made spot markings for commuters to queue on platforms and in front of ticket booking counters.
The trains were not choc a bloc initially after the services commenced early in the morning, but as hours passed, jam-packed rakes reached terminal stations Sealdah and Howrah, leading to apprehensions over maintenance of physical distancing norms.
“During the peak hours that are from 9 to 11 in the morning and 4 to 5 in the afternoon, the social distancing gets disrupted. Otherwise, it’s fine during the other time,” says a sixty two years commuter, Shibnath Das, who finds it more comfortable and cheap travelling via trains.
Commuters, though relieved at the resumption of local train services, sought an increase in the number of trains to ensure that the coaches are not crowded.
Urban Planners believe it would have been easier if the rail authorities increase the frequencies of the train specially during the office hours. “If the frequencies are increased by the authorities and the bougies get restricted to a particular amount of commuters per bougie, it will be easy to maintain physical distance among the commuters,” says Anusha Sinha, architecture Urban Planner.