New Delhi- Platforms and key hub stations, including Rajiv Chowk, wore a deserted look, eateries remained closed and the ambience far removed from the usual hustle-and-bustle as the Delhi metro services resumed on Monday after a 169-day hiatus triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Station employees frequently sanitised areas of the metro station and ensured social distancing norms, even as very few commuters opted for the metro services on the first day.
Rajiv Chowk, which is one of the busiest stations of the national capital remained empty. At around 9 am, the usually busy entry point at Rajiv Chowk metro station was deserted with officials, wearing masks and face shields, ready with sanitizers to ensure a safe ride for passengers.
After the entry point, there was a second layer of sanitisation process where thermal screening of passengers as well as their luggage was done.
Imran Khan, who was travelling from Chattarpur to Barakhamba metro station, was on his way to attend a job interview.
“The ride was smooth and there were hardly less than five commuters in my compartment. So, we had ample space to maintain social distancing even within the coaches. I’m glad that metro services have finally begun or I wouldn’t have been able to make it for my interview on time,” he said.
Another commuter, Vishal Naik (21), a resident of Shastri Park, was relieved that now he would finally be able to reach office in Connaught Place on time.
“Until now, everyday, it took almost two-three hours to reach office. Half of my time was spent in travelling. I had to start at least an hour early from home and wait for unusually longer hours at the bus stands and if the passenger count exceeded beyond 20, I had to again wait to catch the next bus, which is equally risky during pandemic,” he said.
Asked if he was afraid to take the ride amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Naik said metro rides are much preferred than buses.
Rajiv Chowk metro station, which serves as an interchange facility between the Yellow Line and the Blue Line, witnessed an unusually thin crowd between 9 am to 11 am. While many train coaches remained totally empty, some had hardly one passengers. Some others had less than 10 passengers on board.
Deepika Nautiyal, a resident of Laxmi Nagar, said she is scared but has taken all the precautions.
“I took an auto rickshaw from my home in Laxmi Nagar and reached Rajiv Chowk metro station. I am a bit scared but have taken all the precautions,” Nautiyal, who works at company in Gurgaon, said.
Another commuter Mona Jha, who lives in Bhajanpura in northeast Delhi and works at Barakhamba Road, said she noticed that people are maintaining the norm of social distancing inside the metro train.
” I boarded the metro at Kashmiri Gate and have seen that people are aware. I am not scared. People are more concerned but we must follow social distancing norms. The situation will take time to become normal,” Jha said.
At Kashmere Gate metro station, only two gates were opened.
When people were entering the premises, they were seen getting their bags sanitized by the metro employees.
Before contactless frisking, CISF personnel were also seen helping the commuters maintain social distance.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) were making several announcements about dos and dont’s during COVID-19.
“If you have cold cough or fever, then please don’t take metro. Duration of opening and closing of metro doors have been increased for the convenience of commuters,” the announcer said.
Trains were stopping at station with an extra time so that the passengers can easily board or de-board the metro without get in contact with anyone.
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said all possible measures will be taken to ensure that services are smooth.
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