Mumbai: The Railways on Saturday said select 10% employees of co-operative and private banks will be allowed to travel on Mumbai’s suburban trains. Suburban train travel is currently restricted for the general public in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees of nationalised banks are already allowed to travel by trains.

On the Maharashtra government’s request, 10% of the total staff strength of co-operative and private banks will be permitted to travel by local trains, a joint release issued by the Central and Western Railways stated.

The railways have been operating special suburban services for people engaged in essential and emergency services since mid-June.

The selected 10% staff will need to obtain QR ID codes from the state government. Until then, those with valid identity cards can buy tickets and travel.

Recently, the railway authorities allowed aircraft maintenance and repair staff to travel on local trains.

The railways also said that additional booking counters will be opened at important stations, and appealed passengers to follow social distancing.

A total of 500 suburban train services will be run in Mumbai from September 21, an increase from the 350 currently on the tracks amid the coronavirus outbreak, said a Western Railway official on Friday.

The suburban trains in operation now are only for frontline staff and essential service workers as laid down by the state government, and a QR code-empowered ticketing mechanism is in place for those who need to board.

“In order to maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding, Western Railway has taken the decision to increase the number of daily special suburban services from 350 to 500 from Monday,” said Sumit Thakur, WR chief public relations officer.

“Of the increased services, 30 will be operated during morning peak hours, and 29 services during evening peak hours,” Thakur informed.

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