Govt of Maharashtra has requested Railways to permit all ladies commuters to travel by Special Suburban trains over Mumbai Suburban network, during the non-peak hours ie from 11 AM to 3 PM & again from 7 PM onwards till end of local services for the day. Western Railway in its reply has asked State Government authorities on 16th Oct to convey quantum of passengers likely to increase due to the above-stated stream of traffic and also convene a meeting to work out the modalities in this regard.
According to Sumit Thakur- Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Rly, a letter in this regard was received on 16th October 2020 from Govt of Maharashtra & on the same day, the reply was sent by Western Rly to Govt of Maharashtra. The railways are in full preparedness and WR is currently running 700 special suburban services, including 2 Ladies Special services during the peak hours & similarly Central Rly is running total of 706 special suburban services. Again discussion in this regard was held on 18th Oct with state govt to finalise the modalities.
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also looked into the issue and have asked State Government Authorities to finalize the necessary modalities in view of Covid- 19 pandemic and convey the same to railways. The decision will be based to ensure that social & medical protocols like social distancing with regards to prevailing COVID-19 protocols can be followed. Mr.Thakur stated that considering the present scenario of Covid19 pandemic State govt has to ensure that overcrowding is to be avoided at platforms and in trains and effectively counter the law & order situation.
The CPRO stated that from 15th June 2020 on the request of Maharashtra Govt., Western Railway resumed its selected Suburban services for essential category staff as notified by Govt of Maharashtra and which has been gradually increased, so that all COVID19 protocol can be followed in light of the addition of new categories of the essential category of staff by state govt.
The recent increase was done when the number of special suburban services was increased from 506 to 700 by Western Rly with effect from 15th October 2020. At present, the daily ridership of WR’s suburban section is carrying approx 3.2 lakh passengers.