Smart cards with auto top-up, thermal scanners, warning stickers: DMRC prepares for new normal

New Delhi: From new smartcards with auto top-up facility to stickers on social distancing norms pasted on seats and platform floors, the Delhi Metro is all set to handle commuters, in adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines, whenever its services are ordered to be resumed.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had on Sunday said it shall be prepared to resume operations whenever directed by the government.

The statement from the urban transporter came on a day Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said metro train services in Delhi should be resumed on a trial basis as the COVID-19 situation was improving in the city, and hoped the Centre would soon decide on it.

After the lockdown period, the economy has been slowly opening up in a phased manner since June, but the DMRC has not yet received a nod from the Centre to resume operations.

"The DMRC shall be prepared to commence operations whenever directed by the government. All necessary guidelines to combat the spread of COVID-19 shall be implemented, and all efforts shall be made to make travel safe for our valued commuters," Anuj Dayal, Executive Director, DMRC was quoted as saying in a statement.

On regular days, the average daily ridership of DMRC is over 26 lakh.The DMRC, meanwhile, has been training its staff on compliance of COVID-19 safety norms and also on ways to make travel safer for commuters.

From thermal scanners to measure the temperature of commuters to stickers on social distancing norms pasted on seats and platform floors, Delhi Metro has been preparing to handle commuters as per safety guidelines, officials said.

Authorities have been working on protocols to ensure that social distancing norms are in place whenever commuters return. To promote greater e-transaction, the Delhi Metro on August 19 announced a new facility that will enable riders to get their smart cards auto-topped up at automatic fare collection (AFC) gates.

This new smart card is available for customers through the app 'Autope' which zhas been specially developed for this purpose. The old smartcards can also be upgraded to avail this facility, officials said.

"This feature will come in handy during these times... which call for social distancing and contactless services," a senior official said.

Among other measures, red lines have been drawn at regular intervals next to AFC gates and security checking gates, just before commuters enter near platform areas.

On platform floors, large stickers bearing 'Ensure Social Distancing' message with a white circle bordered by a red circle, have been pasted at regular intervals to alert commuters.

Thermal scanners will be used to screen commuters, sources said. The DMRC had recently tweeted a photo, showing caution stickers being put up on seats at regular intervals, for maintaining social distancing.

The DMRC authorities, however, remain tight-lipped on whether Aarogya Setu app would be made mandatory for travelling in the metro.

"The decision to resume metro rail services in Delhi-NCR will be taken by the government, after which a detailed protocol for passengers will be shared with the media and the public," the DMRC had earlier said. At present, the DMRC is taking up the necessary cleaning mechanisms inside the trains and indoor areas of stations such as entrance lobbies, corridors, staircases, escalators, elevators, security area etc, it said.

with inputs from agencies

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