KOCHI: With the Covid scare and restrictions increasing, Kochi Metro is witnessing a sizeable reduction in passenger footfall since last week. “With regulations in force, many are not willing to venture out of their homes these days. Though the office goers ensure a decent footfall on weekdays, the number is very low on weekends,” said a metro official.
The authorities also pointed out that the return of ‘work from home is also reflecting on passenger patronage. That being said, the metro is yet to reduce its frequency of services. “As of now, we haven’t decided to reduce our frequency. Earlier we had reduced it from once every seven minutes to once every 10 minutes. Besides, we are ensuring our service from 6am to 10pm daily,” said the official.
Though there was little social distancing on the metro premises after previous lockdown restrictions were lifted, the officials are ensuring strict adherence to protocol in the wake of the second wave of Covid-19. “With the help of the metro police, we are enforcing Covid protocol everywhere.
Though we pasted stickers to ensure social distancing norms, people often fail to follow them. We have also held a campaign in collaboration with metro police to create awareness among commuters,” added the metro official.
Water transport is sinking too
The state water transport department’s (SWTD) services connecting Kochi’s islets are also having a hard time. “Other than for emergency travel, commuters rarely come out these days. This is directly reflecting on our daily figures. With the reduced patronage, we are clubbing multiple services into one and adding extra stops,” said M Sujith, traffic superintendent, SWTD Ernakulam region.
There were instances where night services piled with just two passengers. “As we have only ticketed services, only sitting passengers are allowed now. Still, we are forced to reduce the number of services due to less patronage. On weekends, we are running only two or three boats,” he added.