New Delhi: In a big relief for Mumbaikars, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government has decided to resume local train services for the general public from Monday, February 1. While the decision comes as a much-needed relief for the commuters, boarding suburban services will no longer be the same.Also Read - Maharashtra: Scolded By Elder Brother Over Excessive Mobile Phone Use, Teen Girl Dies By Suicide

“Preparations are underway to resume services in Mumbai. We’ve formed teams & are sanitising cabins, seating areas, etc. We’ll be increasing entry & exit points, ticket booking counters with time. Our staff will be available to regulate crowd”, said Sumit Thakur, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO), Western Railway as saying. Also Read - Maharashtra: Nagpur University to Begin Exams For Undergraduate Students From June 8

As per the directives issued by the Thackeray government, the timings of the local train service for the general public’s use will be restricted to avoid crowding. The railway authorities have requested travellers to follow all guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) related to COVID-19 during the travel. Also Read - Fourth Wave of Corona in Maharashatra: How Dangerous Will it Be? BMC Commissioner Spills The Beans

Key Things Commuters Should Keep in Mind Before Boarding Local Trains From February 1:

Staggered Timings: For common people, local trains will be available in three-time slots as per the instructions of the Maharashtra government:

From the start of the day’s services to 7 AM

12:00 PM to 4:00 PM

9:00 pm to the end of the day.

For those engaged in essential services:

Between 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM

From 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Free Travel For Women Passengers: The authorities have permitted women to travel in locals during the non-peak hours.

Frequency of Trains Increased: The Central Railway, before the pandemic struck, was operating 1,774 suburban services daily, while the Western Railway operated 1,367 services. Currently, the two railway authorities are operating 2,985 services, about 95 per cent of the total 3,141 services, on Mumbai’s suburban network. Of these, 204 special suburban services were added on Friday morning.

Shops in Mumbai and the MMR to Operate Till 11 PM, Restaurants Till 1 AM

The state government in its circular about local trains asserted that it will request all establishments to stagger their work schedule so that employees can benefit from the new schedule.

The government also directed that shops in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) be allowed to operate till 11 pm, and restaurants till 1 am.

“30% limit for the staff in these establishments will continue to be in force and they will be allowed to operate as per the SoPs issued for daily operations of the same by various departments of the government,” it said.