March saw DMRC’s flying squads issuing 7,058 fines, the highest in a month since Metro services restarted in September 2020 and more than half of these were issued in just one week’s time.
The flying squads have been prosecuting 150-200 passengers a day for violating Covid norms, like not wearing masks properly, sitting on seats meant to be kept vacant or not maintaining social distancing at stations and inside trains.
According to figures shared by DMRC, the number of challans started going up along with the increase in Covid-19 cases from March 23, when 234 people were penalised, followed by 318 challans issued on March 24 and 527 the next day. The figure reached a record high of 758 on March 26. Since then, the figure has remained above 600 till month-end — except 396 challans on March 28 and just 29 challans the next day, when train services started after 2.30pm on the occasion of Holi.
The corporation had penalised 3,373 violators till March 24 and in the next seven days, it penalised 3,685 more taking the total figure to 7,058, an increase of one and a half times compared with the 2,805 challans issued in February.
It has also strictly reinforced social distancing norms in view of the fourth wave of Covid-19 cases that the capital is witnessing and has advised passengers to plan their journey in advance and allow for additional time of 20-30 minutes for their commute.
While waiting in queues to enter metro stations, passengers are now required to wait on marked social distancing circles or stripes and DMRC has said that it if it is found that the distancing is not followed at stations, entry gates will be closed at those stations, till the distancing is ensured.
According to the existing Covid-safety protocol, it is mandatory for all the passengers to enter the station after thermal screening, hand sanitisation, with face properly covered with a mask and following social distancing on Metro premises throughout their journey.
After being shut down for 169 days last year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, train services resumed from September 7 and despite taking measures to create awareness about Covid appropriate behaviour, it was clear that many passengers were violating norms and from September 11, DMRC deployed its flying squads.