The Lucknow Metro resumed its services on Monday after a five-month gap but only around 7,000 passengers boarding trains, a fraction of daily figures before the coronavirus lockdown was clamped in March.
In the pre-lockdown days, over 70,000 people used to commute on weekdays on the trains, Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) MD Kumar Keshav said.
“Today, only 10-12 per cent of that was expected because Metro operations have started after a long time,” he added, stressing that the railways, bus transport and airport are still not fully operational.
Colleges, schools, businesses and offices are either not opened or a few are operating with limited capacity, he said.
A Metro corporation official said, “Around 7,000 passengers travelled on the first day of Metro operation (after lockdown).”
Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation PRO Panchanan Mishra told PTI that the services started at 6 am at all 16 stations with a thin crowd but the number of passengers increased later in the day.
The Lucknow Metro is the first in the country to use the ultraviolet (UV) technology for token sanitisation to ensure the safety of passengers, Mishra added.
According to MD Kumar Keshav, they are using boxes with UV light for the purpose, similar to that used for sanitisation of medical equipment.
On the first day, the MD also visited Metro stations from Munshipulia to Hazratganj to take stock of the arrangements and know the response of people.
He interacted with commuters on the safety arrangements made by the authorities at Metro stations and on trains, a statement issued by the UPMRC said on Monday evening.
Kumar Keshav said, “We have taken care of the minutest of things when it comes to passenger safety and comfort. With a series of measures regarding cleanliness and sanitisation undertaken by us, we are undoubtedly the safest public transport as compared to the other public transport modes available in the city.”
The Union Home Ministry had recently issued guidelines allowing Metro services in the country to resume in a graded manner.
Social distancing markers have been placed on alternate seats to maintain sufficient distance between passengers on the trains, the UPMRC said in the statement.
Frequently touched areas in coaches like grab rails, poles, handles, passenger seats and door surfaces are being sanitised regularly.
Passengers can buy tickets online with a GoSmart card. A GoSmart user has a contactless trip right from entering a Metro station, boarding a train to exiting the premises.
The automatic sensors of AFC gates detect the card from a distance without tapping it, it said.
Social distancing markings and signages are in place at all stations to ensure an adequate gap among passengers while queuing up near ticket counters, ticket vending machines, security check frisking points and entry-exit gates, the statement said.