MUMBAI, Feb.1 (Reuters) – One of the world‘s busiest urban rail systems, located in India’s financial capital Mumbai, was restarted for all commuters on Monday, 11 months after it closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection in the city.
On average, eight million people used trains daily before the pandemic. Operations were halted in March last year, as part of a strict government-imposed lockdown.
Only officials from “essential services” were allowed to use the rail network after it partially opened in June.
On Monday, commuters entered still empty train cars, wearing masks and armed with disinfectants.
“From today, regular commuters will be allowed to travel, but only during off-peak hours,” said Sumit Thakur, a spokesperson for Western Railways.
Mumbai has been one of the worst-hit cities, recording more than 300,000 cases and more than 11,000 deaths since March.
“It was really bad when the trains were closed. I live far away and going to college took a long time,” Disha Maurya, a 16-year-old student, said before boarding a train.
It has recorded 11,427 cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday, bringing its total number of cases to 10.7 million. More than 154,000 people have died in the epidemic.