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Metro Rail banks on technology to ensure passenger safety

Metro Rail commuters returned to a new normal on Monday when the operator resumed services in a graded manner after remaining shut for the public for 169 days due to the lockdown. Industries Minister MC Sampath and CMRL MD Pradeep Yadav took a ride in the first train from airport at 7 am. Service on the Central-St Thomas Mount corridor would start from Wednesday.

Metro Rail banks on technology to ensure passenger safety
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Hand sanitiser dispenser at a Metro station in the city

Chennai

With very few passengers turning up, stations and trains wore a deserted look. Commuters were permitted to enter the concourse area only after temperature checks and sanitisation of hands. Only asymptomatic people are allowed to board the train.

CMRL is banking on technology to ensure passenger safety like touch-free foot pedals at the elevators, smart card or use QR code that would allow them to buy tickets in cashless mode using smartphones, and UV ray emitters to sanitise the air.

When Saravanan, a private firm employee, tried to purchase ticket to Nandanam from Central Metro, he was asked to purchase a smartcard that could also be used to pay parking charge. “Officials guided us from the concourse to platform and made us stand on the yellow marking to ensure social distancing to board the train,” he said.

“This standard should be maintained even if the number of passengers goes up. I feel safe to travel now,” said A Mahendran (57), a businessman, adding that he was satisfied by the arrangements.

Minister Sampath said trains would be operated with only 30 per cent of the capacity to ensure social distancing. Only four passengers will be allowed on the seven-seater bench and one person in the two-seater.

There would be one train every five minutes during peak hours (8.30 to 10.30 am and 5 to 8 pm), and one every 10 minutes in non-peak hours.

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