Needed: SOP for sanitising Metro coaches

Despite elaborate safety measures, the Metro saw few takers on its first day of operation. A sanitisation schedule, if made public, could boost commuter confidence.

Namma Metro has prepared an exhaustive list of dos and don’ts for passenger safety since services resumed Monday. But it has no standard procedure or frequency for cleaning and sanitising its coaches.

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd authorities said that their housekeeping staff have been trained to sanitise coaches at regular intervals from the starting point to the termination point of a trip. But they did not specify the frequency with which the cleaning procedures would be carried out.

One official said that the frequency would depend on the availability of staff. The corporation said it was employing their own staff to do the job and had not calculated the additional cost involved in sanitising the coaches.

Ajay Seth, BMRCL’s managing director, said, “We have taken all the measures to ensure the safety of passengers. Sanitation of the Metro stations will be done regularly and the sanitation of train coaches will be carried out at various points along the Metro reaches,” he said.

When asked specifically about the various points at which they would be sanitised, he maintained that it would be done regularly. The additional cost incurred to sanitise the trains has not yet been calculated, said B L Yashwant Chauhan, Chief Public Relations Officer.

Meanwhile, each train that used to carry about 2000 passengers at a time in pre-Covid times, saw only about 41 passengers per trip when services reopened after a five-month gap on Monday.

Whereas the BMRCL was prepared to allow 50 passengers in each of the 17 stations on the Purple Line (18.22 km from Baiyappanahalli to Mysuru Road), on an average there were fewer than 4 passengers entering each station.

At the end of its first day’s operation, only 3770 people used the Purple Line — the Green Line opens on Wednesday, Sept 8 — as against the over 2 lakh people who normally used this line. Operating 91 trips during its 3-hour operation in the morning and 3 hours in the evening, BMRCL earned Rs 1.25 lakh.

Clearly, public confidence in a closed public transport vehicle like the Metro, which is fully air-conditioned, is yet to return. As against the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, which is seeing more footfalls since it resumed skeletal services from May 19, the Metro’s limited network has attracted fewer commuters.

The Trains

  • Trains on the Purple Line will operate from 8 am to 11 am and 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm till Sept 10.
  • The Green Line, between Nagasandra and Yelachenahalli, will reopen on Sept 9 and will operate between the same timings till Sept 10.
  • Both the Purple Line and Green Line will operate from 7 am to 9 pm every day, from Sept 11.

Touchless ticketing

The touchless gate-reader can scan a card from 3 cm. Photo: BMRCL
  • Only commuters with smart cards are allowed to ride the Metro. Recharging is done only through mobile apps.
  • Passengers need not place their cards on the entry and exit gates.
  • The cards can be flashed from a distance of 3 cm from the gate-reader.

At the station

Thermal scanners installed at Metro stations, with instructions. Photo: BMRCL
  • Only 50 passengers are allowed inside a station.
  • Applying hand sanitizers installed at the entrance of the station is compulsory while standing in a queue, within designated spots marked at a 2-metre distance from each other.
  • Commuters will have to place their hand against the thermal scanners to have temperature scanned. Only those with normal temperature (around 37 Deg C) will be allowed inside.
  • Those with symptoms such as cough, sneezing, breathlessness will not be permitted to travel. Such passengers will be accompanied by the security staff for registering their name, photograph, phone number and address and advised to undergo a medical checkup.
  • At a time, 4/6 passengers can travel in lifts that have the capacity of 6/12 persons. Passengers can only stand on the footmark’s stickers in lifts.
  • Passengers are allowed to stand on alternate steps of escalators at stations while moving from platform to concourse and concourse to road level.

Inside the train

BMRCL employees demonstrate social distancing inside a coach. Photo: BMRCL
  • Each train’s capacity will not exceed 400 passengers at a time
  • Alternate seats in the trains having markings ‘Don’t be seated’ have to be kept vacant.
  • Standing is allowed only along the marked yellow strip.
  • Although this is unlikely given the present ridership, a train will not stop at a station if there is overcrowding. The public address system will have an announcement at such a instance.
  • The duration of a stop at every station will be 60 seconds. This is to allow passengers to maintain social distance while boarding and de-boarding.
  • The stop at the interchange at Kempegowda Station will be 75 seconds.

As none of the 17 stations on the Purple Line currently fall under any containment zones, all stations are operational, Yashwant Chauhan said. If an area under which a station exists is declared a containment zone, the station will suspend operation as a precautionary measure.

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