Rejig office timings, relieve train crowds on priority

Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 07:38 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

f this explodes, we may have a situation which is totally out of control, leading to an avalanche of other problems in the COVID-19 chain that we are trying so hard to break.

Screenshots from the videos that have gone viral
Screenshots from the videos that have gone viral

There should be considerable alarm at this paper's front-page report about packed trains. The story cites, with examples and quotes, how social distancing is not observed in trains, in fact, cannot be observed because there are so many commuters.

Just before locals started running in the city, we saw pictures and plans of how officials were to maintain distancing in trains, with commuters supposed to have space between them on seats. This seems laughable now, because not only is there no spacing but not even enough seating.

Less frequency and the fact that these trains are stopping at fewer stations all means that the trains get impossibly crowded.

It is good that the Railways is thinking of action along with other authorities about tackling this situation. We hope that staggered office timings for government office staffers will go some way in tackling these problems. It is evident that this is the single biggest cause for the crowds; peak-hour travel during lockdown or otherwise means a peak of commuters boarding these trains.

So, this needs to be tackled on a priority basis. A rejig of office timings may see a staggered flow of public in trains.

We have to get cracking on this because it is an absolute time bomb. Envisage how many travellers are there in a bogey. Then, they go home and are in contact with families. If this explodes, we may have a situation which is totally out of control, leading to an avalanche of other problems in the COVID-19 chain that we are trying so hard to break.

More halts at stations and a better understanding of who is allowed to board and who is not, to eliminate time-wasting and frustration because of confusion, is the other knotty area to detangle. Mission Begin Again, needs to iron out these chinks.

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