Amid growing resentment among Mumbai's working class, the Railways and Maharashtra government have decided to scale up the suburban train services in the Mumbai metropolitan region to 2,985.
However, only those who are permitted by the Ministry of Railways and Maharashtra government will be allowed to travel.
Both, the Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR), normally used by over 70 to 80 lakh commuters daily, will be increasing their services effective Friday.
The CR has decided to increase its suburban services from the existing 1,580 to 1,685 while the WR has decided to up it from the existing 1,201 to 1,300. The CR-WR used to collectively run over 3,000 services daily in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
“Passengers as permitted by Ministry of Railways and Government of Maharashtra are only allowed to travel by the suburban trains. Others are requested not to rush to the railway stations,” the CR-WR said in a joint statement on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday.
Passengers have been advised to adhere to Covid-19-related norms and SOPs while boarding, travelling and at the destinations.
On Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray chaired a high-level meeting which was attended by the CM’s Principal Advisor Ajoy Mehta, Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary Vikas Kharge, Secretary Abasaheb Jarhad, Mumbai’s Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal, Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh and Disaster Management Unit Chief Abhay Yawalkar.
CR General Manager Sanjeev Mittal and his WR counterpart Alok Kansal were also present at the meeting.
The local train services were shut on 22 March when the day-long 'janata curfew' was imposed and subsequently remained shut during the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
On 15 June, skeletal services were resumed for people engaged in essential services, state and central governments, banks and so on.
Over the last five months, the services have been increased and more people have been allowed in trains.
Spread across six lines covering 390-odd kms and 157 stations in the MMR, comprising five districts of Mumbai City, Mumbai Suburban, Thane, Palghar and Raigad, the suburban network, is considered to be the lifeline of the city.