The Mumbai local often called the lifeline of the city is all set to be back on track from 15th august onwards for those fully vaccinated against the Covid-19 Virus. The local services were first halted last year when the pandemic engulfed the entire world. It was re-opened for a brief time eventually shutting down again in the wake of an even deadlier second wave of Covid-19. But, the services opened later for those working in essential services.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced on Sunday in a televised address to the state informing the opening of Mumbai’s arterial suburban train network from August 15 for fully vaccinated people 14 days after their second jab. He also eased some more covid19 curbs but imploring people not to let their guard down.
He said, “We are providing some relaxations now but if cases go up, we will have to resort to lockdown again. So I appeal to you to not invite another wave of Covid.”
Under the new arrangement, fully vaccinated people are first required to register themselves on a mobile application currently being developed by the state government for them to travel on the Mumbai suburban train network. For those without a smartphone, the registration facility will also be available offline at the offices of civic bodies and railways.
The QR code-based passes will be issued on the application after passengers register and submit their vaccination certificates.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said that arrangements will be made to issue Quick Response (QR) code-based passes to them at 65 railway stations which come under the ambit of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) jurisdiction.
However, one day after announcing the decision, the Union Minister of State (MoS) for Railways Raosaheb Danve, displeased with the decision said that the Maharashtra government should have conferred with the Railways before making the announcement.
He said that the responsibility of checking the authenticity of the QR code passes of eligible passengers at the entry point of each station should be done by the state government and the railways won’t be able to do it.
The Mumbai local network is one the largest metropolitan-suburban transport facility in India. Serving the greater Mumbai Metropolitan Region covering Mumbai and nearby Thane, Navi Mumbai, etc. and spread over 390 kilometres the suburban railway operates 2,342 train services.
Before covid-19 the network used to carry more than 7.5 million commuters daily.
By annual ridership (2.64 billion), the Mumbai Suburban Railway is one of the busiest commuter rail systems in the world making it the potential hotspot for the spread of the virus.
Trains run from 04:00 am until 01:00 am, and some trains also run up to 02:30 am. It is the first suburban rail network in India and now it going back to its business, being the lifeline of the city that never sleeps.