How to resume Mumbai local train services maintaining social distancing? Activist comes up with a plan
The five-step plan takes into consideration, the gradual lifting of the lockdown and resumption of suburban train services in Mumbai
City transport activist Gaurang Dinesh Damani on Friday, submitted a plan to Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on gradual resumption of Mumbai's life-line, the suburban local trains. The five-step plan designed for oganisations to facilitate train commute for their employees takes into consideration, the gradual lifting of the lockdown and resumption of suburban services.
The propsal has been also marked to all the Members of Parliament from the city and detailed in the following 5 steps:
In the first step of the proposal, business owners whose employees use suburban trains will need to register their company on the BMC website or on a mobile App with the option of using the company’s GSTN or owner’s PAN as their user ID and password. After login, a short form will appear in which they will fill information such as their business category, sub-category, contact details, and the nearest suburban railway station from their workplace. Initially, companies can implement a five-hour daily workday for employees from Monday to Saturday and the staff can commute by train at staggered hours as per requirement. The business owner will have the option to enter the preferred five-hour time slot for operations.
In the second step, the business owner will create an employee list in the order of preference with information such as employee name, originating railway station, mobile number of the employee and age. Following which, the business owner will electronically sign a legal undertaking to maintain social distancing norms inside the office and ensure safety measures are in place like usage of masks and sanitisers.
In the third step, the organisation will develop a back-end software allocating the five-hour office timing slots to each applicant. These softwares can be quickly developed by professional firms with a target launch date of 1 July 2020. The back-end software logic should dynamically allocate time slots as per 50 passengers per railway compartment, with social distancing in mind. The younger passengers can be allocated standing space, but the upper limit should remain at 600 passengers for a 12-coach rake. Each passenger should be allocated a unique seat number as per IRCTC’s internet system protocols. If this system is implemented properly, approximately 20 lakh train passengers can travel safely every day.
In the fourth step, the business owners or the companies will pay the monthly or quarterly suburban train fares online for all the approved employees. Pass-holders can be given the corresponding credit when situation improves and services resume normally. The e-tickets can be sent to the business owners and the respective employee’s mobile phone. The e-ticket will have train timings mentioned for the two-way journey. This way crowding at the ticket window, the station platform and inside the compartment could be eliminated.
The final step would involve syncing the data with the ground staff. At the station, RPF and GRP policemen will be provided with QR code scanners or other electronic scanners to scan and allow entry only to the approved ticket-holders. The requirement of the number of scanners can be estimated based on the number of passengers at the originating station. Passengers who miss their train will not be allowed to board the next train, just as it is applicable for an out-station train. If the passenger misses the allocated train 3 times, his e-ticket should be revoked. The ticket checker can do random checks on the platform to prevent conflicts from happening within the compartment. The last-mile connectivity from the station to the workplace can be through BEST mini-buses, taxis, rickshaws or rented cycles.
Damani said organisations like colleges/ schools/ courts etc. can operate online till the time the next phase can start.
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