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How to catch a Metro from Monday in Calcutta

Passengers have to collect online passes mentioning time slot for entry into station
Senior Metro officials at an inspection at Park Street station on Wednesday.

Debraj Mitra   |   Calcutta   |   Published 11.09.20, 02:19 AM

The first Metro train on commercial run in 174 days will leave the terminal stations at 8am on Monday but booking of e-passes will start at 8pm on Sunday, officials of the utility said.

The timings, number of trains and their frequency have been changed. The last trains will leave the terminal stations at 7pm.

“Only smart card users will be allowed to travel by Metro trains,” said Metro general manager Manoj Joshi. New smart cards can be bought from stations — at counters and smart card vending machines at some stations. Existing smart card users can recharge at stations or online — from the Metro app and website.

The smart card will be for access to the platform. To enter a station, a person needs a “QR code-based colour coded e-pass”. The following steps have to be taken to get a pass:

  • Click on the URL http// pathadisha.com/metro  
  • Enter your name
  • Select your originating and destination stations from the list of 24 stations
  • The 8am to 8pm operational time is split into 12 one-hour slots. Select your desired slot
  • The next page will show if a booking is available in the desired slot. If it is, the system will seek your confirmation. If not, you will be offered another slot
  • If you click on the book and download option, a colour-coded e-pass with a QR code will appear on the screen. The pass will have the details you fed into the system.

The passenger will have to show the pass at the station gate and enter the station at any time in the designated slot.

“There will be 12 colour codes, each for entry during one slot. The colour for each slot will be known by cops posted at the gates,” said a representative of the agency which has developed the system.

If one books a pass from a smartphone, the colour-coded pass will be downloaded in the service. General manager Joshi said people without phones can access the link through a computer and take a colour print-out of the pass. But Metro sources said the carrier did not expect many people without phones to turn up at the stations.

The booking window will open 12 hours before the first train of the day.

“The URL will go live from 8pm on Sunday. Monday’s passes will be available from 8pm on Sunday to 7.59pm on Monday. From 8pm on Monday, Tuesday’s passes will be available on the system,” an official said.

The pass is only for entry into the station. For platform access, a smart card is a must, said Metro officials.

An algorithm — based on data provided by Metro Railway — that is driving the system has also computed an estimated volume of passengers expected to enter and exit each station within each slot. Around 1,000 people are expected to board trains from Dum Dum between 8am and 9am on Monday, said the developer. During the same slot, only 25 are expected to board trains from Park Street.

The e-passes will be allotted to passengers based on these calculations. A set of standard operating procedures — based on these computations — has also been shared with the police for deployment at stations. The idea is to have more deployment at stations where more passengers are expected.

All but two stations will have one gate each for entry and exit. Dum Dum and Esplanade will have two gates each for both.

“We used to carry over 3,000 passengers on a train during peak rush. If that number has to be brought down to 400 per train, we need some checks,” said an official.

The carrier hopes to ferry 100,000 to 120,000 people every day. The pre-Covid daily count was over 600,000.

Metro had suspended service on March 23 as a precaution against Covid-19. Monday’s service will mark the first commercial run since. On Sunday, Metro will run trains for free for NEET candidates and their guardians.

From Monday, according to officials, 50 passengers will be allowed in each of the eight coaches and they have to keep the space of one seat in between.

Passengers will also have to wear masks and undergo thermal scanning at the station entrances.   

The first and last trains will now leave the terminal stations at 8am and 7pm, respectively. The previous timings were 6.45am and 9.55pm. “Many of our staff were dependent on suburban trains to come to work and go home. Since trains are suspended now, they will have to leave a little early,” said Indrani Banerjee, the Metro spokesperson.

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