The outbreak of COVID 19 changed the whole scenario of the world. The lockdown ceased all economic activities, the shutdown of businesses, unemployment, and depression, migrants lost their jobs, confining millions of people working from home. The government locked down the transport services, millions of people were stranded. COVID 19 has adversely affected all the sectors of the economy.
Today, slowly and gradually we are seeing the restrictions being lifted off, economies have restarted, nations are reopening their doors to tourism, international flights have started, Indian railways have started special trains with new rules and restrictions. Though the travel behavior will no longer be the same way it used to be. The traveling, meeting people, exploring new places, going for a vacation, road trips, train journeys everything has changed.
Let’s look at train journeys. The Indian Railways, one of the largest railway networks has resumed their train booking services but have laid down several rules and restrictions for the passengers to follow during the COVID times. The iconic DDLJ scene catching the train at the last moment, purchasing pakoras at platforms, sharing meals with fellow passengers, taking a stroll at stations during the stoppages, is now restricted to storybooks and movies only.
The Ministry of Railways has issued specific rules for all the passengers to follow.
- Every passenger has to go through a thermal scan while entering the railway premises and if a passenger is found with a high temperature or any symptoms of fever, the passenger will not be allowed to board train. In case of the confirmed train tickets, he/she will be issued a refund.
- Only the passengers with the confirmed train tickets will be allowed to enter the station after the thermal scanning process. Long queues will be seen outside the stations.
- Catching the trains at the last minute will no longer be there. Passengers have to reach the station 90 minutes ahead of the train’s departure time.
- Every passenger needs to have the Aarogya Setu app downloaded on their mobile phones and maintaining social distance is compulsory.
- It will be mandatory for all the passengers to wear face masks at all times.
- Talking about the AC Coaches, curtains and beddings have been removed to avoid contact. Passengers are requested to carry their beddings for travel. Pantries in the train will be unserviceable.
- Only a few vendors, tea shops will be seen selling snacks and tea on the platforms.
- All the passengers traveling through trains have to quarantine themselves at home for 7 days.
All these steps are taken to ease the process and for the safety of the passengers. Despite the rules and regulations, it will be advisable to take extra precautionary measures. Try to book the tickets online through the IRCTC portal or through traveling apps which not only provides seat availability and train running status but will also provide a list of protocols to be followed while traveling. Avoid buying tickets from the ticket counters, bring home-cooked food for the journey, wear masks and gloves, carry sanitizer, avoid any physical contact, and do follow social distancing. Overall it is advisable to travel in very urgent situations as traveling increases the risk of COVID as we are not completely out of the COVID situation.