The resumption of tokens is gradually pushing up the Metro railway passenger count in the north-south corridor.
Despite the rise, the count is still way below the pre-pandemic daily average. But with schools and colleges reopening, the number should continue rising, said Metro officials.
On Wednesday, the passenger count was over 3.91 lakh. The day before, it was around 3.95 lakh. Exactly a week ago, the count was around 3.57 lakh.
“Just before the resumption of tokens, the daily average passenger count used to be around 2.8 lakh. The count has gone up since. Every day, between 80,000 and 90,000 tokens are being used,” said a Metro official. The remaining passengers use smart cards.
“The trains are more crowded now than they used to be. The difference is more pronounced in the non-rush hour trains. Till a month ago, the trains in the afternoon used to have many empty seats. Now, not so many,” said Taj Muhammad, who works with the retail banking division of a private lender in central Kolkata.
He takes the Metro, usually multiple times a day, to meet his clients across the city.
Tokens, suspended since January 3 as part of the measures to check the third Covid wave, came back on February 1.
Before the pandemic, well over 6 lakh passengers took the Metro daily on an average.
People using the Metro for a single ride usually prefer tokens, which start from Rs 5. Smart cards are the preferred choice of regular passengers.
“The passenger count is still lagging compared to pre pandemic times. Many guardians are still reluctant to send their wards to school. Several offices are still carrying on with work from home. But with cases coming down, we hope the passenger count will keep rising,” said Protyush Ghosh, deputy general manager, Metro Railway.