Metro Railway will increase the number of daily trains if the passenger count shoots up substantially following the resumption of local trains.
The carrier runs 266 trains every weekday now. Before the pandemic, the count was 288. “We have the resources to run 288 trains. But we don’t want to rush…,” said a Metro official.
The passenger count on Tuesday was 3.12 lakh and it was 3.21 lakh on Monday. The count had been around 3 lakh for a few days after Durga Puja. “We have seen that 266 trains are enough to accommodate around 3.5 lakh passengers daily. We will increase trains if the count gallops towards 4 lakh,” the official said.
Before the pandemic, the carrier used to ferry over 6 lakh passengers every day.
On Tuesday, the effect of the resumption of local trains was mostly felt at Dum Dum, where the Metro station is adjacent to the suburban station.
Every time a suburban train pulled into Dum Dum station, the Metro platforms became crowded. The rush was more during the morning and evening office hours.
Adherence to pandemic protocol was limited to wearing masks. Social distancing norms were not followed, especially during rush hours.
“We are strictly enforcing the mask mandate. But implementing the social distancing norms during office hours is not possible,” said an RPF officer. The interval between two trains during the morning and evening rush hours is five minutes now, like it used to be before the pandemic.
“A couple of hours in the morning and evening are very busy. But the remaining time is not. Before the pandemic, even the afternoon trains were crowded...,” said another Metro official.
Another official said the passenger count did not go up substantially even after local trains resumed last year.
“We don’t see the passenger count going up too much before November 16,” said another official.