Over 13,000 commuters penalised by flying squads for violating COVID-19 protocol last month
The average number of passenger journeys on the Delhi Metro network in August has increased to around 23.36 lakh following a relaxation in guidelines that permitted a 100% seating capacity inside coaches.
The number of people penalised for not following COVID-19 protocol also saw a spike with over 13,000 commuters being fined by the flying squads.
Due to lockdown
In the past 18 months, services on the Delhi Metro were disrupted at least twice with passenger operations being first suspended on March 22 last year due to the COVID-induced nationwide lockdown.
Services resumed on September 7 last year before being disrupted again in May this year due to the second wave of the pandemic.
According to relevant guidelines, travel was permitted with alternate seating and standing with social distancing in place. Following a phased resumption of services, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation had also deployed flying squads across the network to ensure relevant COVID protocols.
“The flying squads were deployed across the network to randomly check inside trains for any kind of violations and counsel people to refrain from doing so for their own and everyone’s safety,” said a DMRC official.
A fine of ₹200 is imposed on commuters who are found to be flouting norms, said DMRC.
The highest ridership that the Delhi Metro saw, since the first lockdown, was in March this year when over 26.81 lakh passenger journeys were recorded. According to data provided by the DMRC, the number of fines imposed in March this year was 7,058.
Between September 2020 and March this year, the Delhi Metro network saw a gradual increase in the number of passenger journeys recorded, from around 12.25 lakh in October last year to 25.55 lakh passenger journeys in February this year.
However, with the onset of the second wave and before services got suspended on May 10 this year, the Delhi Metro network saw around 14.07 lakh passenger journeys in the month of April. Despite the dip in the number of passenger journeys, around 8,735 commuters were fined by the flying squads in April this year as compared to the 2,823 fines imposed in February when the passenger journeys were comparatively higher.
In the Delhi Metro network, which spans over approximately 391 km, currently standing travel continues to be prohibited. However, according to government guidelines, 100% seating capacity is permitted and passengers can be seated next to each other.
According to officials, this has lowered the carrying capacity of each metro coach from 300 passengers per coach to 50 passengers per coach.