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Coronavirus Pandemic: Western Railway witnesses 25 per cent dip in daily ridership


Coronavirus Pandemic: Western Railway witnesses 25 per cent dip in daily ridership
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A day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to people to avoid non-essential travel in view of the coronavirus outbreak in the state, Western Railway witnessed a significant drop in its daily ridership. According to WR, the number of commuters on its suburban trains reduced by over 8 lakh on Tuesday. On Tuesday 32.60 lakh passengers travelled on the western line as compared to 40.75 lakh on Monday (down 8.15 lakhs).

"The number of commuters reduced by around 25 per cent," said Ravinder Bhakar, chief spokesperson of WR.

The COVID-19 outbreak in India has affected Maharashtra the most with 49 positive cases being recorded so far. Out of which, 10 COVID-19 infected patients are from the financial capital. Owing to which, on Tuesday, Thackeray had appealed to people to avoid train and bus journey if not necessary. He also clarified that the government does not want to stop suburban services to contain the coronavirus spread.

The suburban services are referred to as the lifeline of Mumbai and over 80 lakh commuters use the local train services every day. Meanwhile, an exact passenger count on Central Railway's suburban trains was not available. But according to an official, the number of passengers could have reduced by 7-9 lakh on Tuesday.

Apart from public transport, Mumbaikars rely on taxis and autorickshaws for the last-mile of their journey. However, since the people in the city are maintaining social distance, the taxi drivers have also reportedly witnessed a 50 per cent dip in their income. An average, a taxi driver earns close to ₹1,300 on a daily basis. However, in the last couple of days, it has touched ₹500. 

In the meantime, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday called on for strict legal police action against people who are trying or will try to evade the quarantine. This comes after several cases were reported of people, at risk to have contracted the coronavirus or COVID-19, using public transport. 

Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday reiterated that currently the state was in stage 2 of the coronavirus outbreak and steps were being taken to ensure that it doesn’t reach stage 3. 

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