Exclusive Interview with Shri Kumar Keshav, Managing Director, Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation

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Context: One of the Fastest developing and Flagship projects of India, The Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation has accelerated the construction work on the Kanpur Metro projects and have recently awarded combined tenders for Rolling Stock and Signalling System for Kanpur & Agra Metro projects. Our Team reached out to them for an exclusive insight into this and their plans for resuming Lucknow Metro services post lockdown along with the progress of ongoing construction work on the Kanpur Metro project.

Interview Insights:

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic metro rail services across the country were stopped and in these post-lockdown days many Metro organizations are making preparations to resume operations once government approval is received. Please brief us about UPMRC’s preparedness to resume Lucknow Metro operations? What are the precautionary measures you have undertaken to resume your operations?

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented time. Nevertheless, the crisis has not shaken our morale and Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) is steadfastly committed to resuming smooth and hassle-free operations, albeit with precautions and safety measures. ‘Adopt Metro with Social Distancing’ is the mantra that will continue to inspire us in the post COVID scenario. UPMRC has revamped the operational framework to adhere to the highest standards of hygiene amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and make commuting a safe, reliable, convenient and eco-friendly experience. 

A summary of measures adopted by Lucknow Metro to provide the safest public transport experience to the people of Lucknow post resumption of Metro services after Lockdown: 

Sanitizing frequently touched areas at the Metro Station

Our Campaign : Hain Tayaar Hum!

Lucknow Metro is all set to serve the people of Lucknow post COVID restrictions, with an entirely new set of arrangements and modifications to fulfil the need of the hour.

1. Sanitization:

Train Cleaning and Disinfection:

In addition to the regular train cleaning, all trains’ interiors will be disinfected in the night and at every 5-6 hours during operation. Deep cleaning and sanitisation of metro trains shall be done every night at Metro Depot.

The frequently touched areas inside the trains, such as grab rails, grab poles, grab handles, draught screens, draught screen poles, passenger seats, door surface from inside shall be disinfected.

(a) Air-conditioning filters:
To prevent the spread of any infection, no re-circulation of air will take place. After every cycle, the entire air will be exhausted out and fresh air will be inducted to be cooled and circulated in the train.

(b) Cleaning and disinfection measures At stations:
All common contact points like Entry/exit gates, Baggage scanners, Ticket Vending Machines, AFC Gates, escalator handrails, staircase railings, lifts, lift buttons, platform seats, train seats, train handles and all equipments are sanitised at regular interval of 4-5 hours.

Lucknow Metro Becomes The First Metro To Sanitize Metro Tokens:

  • Sanitizing metro tokens is one of the umpteen steps that UP Metro Rail Corporation has taken to provide the safest public transport. UPMRC has developed an inhouse solution of sanitizing metro tokens after every use; the first by any Indian Metro Rail system. It is a UV sanitization box which works on Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) disinfection method.
  • Smart Tokens are placed inside this box & within few minutes, UV-C light rays disinfect token surface from both sides and give sanitized tokens for reuse purpose. The UV Sanitizer box can sanitize up to 2000 tokens at a time.

This technology has been primarily used in medical sanitization and sterile work facilities till now but using it to sanitize metro tokens is a one of its kind development in public transportation sector.

2. Markings At Stations, Platforms, Lifts And Trains To Ensure Social Distancing:

  • To ensure distancing inside trains, markings have been done on train seats so that one seat is left vacant between two passengers.
  • Special markings have been done inside lifts to ensure no two people stand close to each other. Additionally, only a maximum of two persons can use the lift at a time.
  • To maintain adequate distance of at least 1 meter between passengers in front of ticketing counters, TVMs, Security frisking points, AFC gates and on platforms, markings have been done for queuing of the passengers at all above mentioned locations.

3. Contactless Travel:

Commuters can enjoy an absolute ‘Contactless Metro Travel’ with their GoSmart Cards.

  • Security frisking to be done from a distance without physical contact.
    When using GoSmart Card, there would be no currency exchange or touching of tokens by the passenger.
  • The special feature in the GoSmart card enables the passenger to enter the AFC (token/card tapping automated gates) simply by bringing the GoSmart Card
    near the Card Reader. The machine sensors will detect the card from a distance without the need to actually tap the card on the sensor.
  • To avoid inserting cash for obtaining tokens from the TVM, passengers can purchase tokens for co-passengers using their GoSmart Card.
  • This way the passenger only comes in contact of their sanitised metro train seats and sanitised handles.

The GoSmart Cards can be recharged online and are also available for sale at Customer Care of every Metro Station.



How do you plan to encourage public and boost their confidence for using Metro Services?

I would like to bring your attention to the fact that Lucknow Metro is the safest mode of public transport given the strict adherence to the preventive measures of COVID-19.There’s due compliance of social distancing, provision of sanitizers, handwash, regular sanitization of not just the station premises
but also inside trains, special markings all around to ensure no two people sit/stand too close to each other etc., unlike any other public transport.

AFC gates and platforms with markings

“In fact, with the kind of arrangements that have been done to ensure safety and hygiene, I feel people would be more at ease and doubt-free when opting for metro as a public transport. It gives me immense pleasure to tell you that Lucknow Metro is the first metro in India to have started token sanitization after every journey.”

Other measures undertaken by us include establishment of health check-up desks at the entrance gates of metro stations (where commuter shall be checked for thermal scanning, green status of AarogyaSetu App, face mask and hand sanitisation), Signage on floors, walls, lifts, escalators, staircase, TOM, TVM, security check etc. to ensure social distancing, cross marks on alternate seats inside trains, touch free security check, frequent disinfection of common surface touch-points such as Ticket Counters, Ticket Vending Machines, Entry-Exit-AFC gates, handrails of escalators, lift buttons etc.

Sanitisation of Metro Coaches

Lucknow Metro stations shall be sanitized every 4-5 hours and metro trains twice a day. The operational staff, including Station Controllers (SCs), Customer Care Assistants (CRAs) & security personnel will wear masks and gloves while dealing with commuters. To help people get an insight of our preparedness, we are leveraging the power of social media to disseminate correct and timely information to the public. These measures, along with those of cleanliness and sanitization, will boost the public confidence.

Smart practices for a safe travel experience:
Contactless travel is a great enabler to reduce the transmission risk of COVID-19 beyond doubt. In fact, Lucknow Metro itself has the facility of ‘Absolute Contactless Travel’ with the usage of Lucknow Metro’s GoSmart Cards. Passengers using GoSmart card enjoy a safer travel experience without the need to exchange currency for tokens. Not just this, GoSmart Cards can be recharged online and the card holder can use it to purchase tokens for co-passengers as well.



While metro projects across the nation are getting delayed, the work for Kanpur Metro is progressing well and is sure to meet the project completion deadline. How?

Yes, the civil construction work of Kanpur Metro’s ‘Priority Corridor’ from ‘IIT to Motijheel’ is being executed with considerable pace in the post-lockdown period. All the credit goes to the strategic planning of UPMRC as the casting procedure started in the closed premises of Casting Yard & Polytechnic Depot with limited workforce on 29th April, 2020. After rearrangement of set up, UPMRC resumed civil work on the corridor from 15th May, 2020.

The initial crisis of labour shortage was overcome by assuring provision of adequate medical care & accommodation at labour colony (construction site). This proved to be decisive in winning the confidence of labour workforce which crossed the 1000 mark in just 50 days of commencement of civil work.

“Another milestone achievement was when On 3rd July, 2020 UPMRC awarded combined tender of Rolling Stock & Signaling for the procurement of 39 Rolling Stock & Signaling Systems to the consortium of M/s Bombardier Transport India Pvt. Ltd. & M/s Bombardier Transportation GmbH. This single contract will again help in achieving our targets well within time.”

The Kanpur Metro project’s civil construction work of ‘Priority Corridor’ from ‘IIT Kanpur to Motijheel’ commenced on 15th November, 2019. On 2nd March, 2020, Kanpur Metro project’s first pier cap was erected. UPMRC accomplished this achievement approximately 3 months before as compared with the Lucknow Metro Project. Within about three and a half months, over 600 piles and 42 Piers completed for the Priority Corridor.

UP Metro created history with first double T-Girder Erection at IIT Metro Station

On 25th July, 2020, UPMRC created history with first double T-girder erection at IIT Metro station of Kanpur Metro for first time in Metro rail industry. On 11th August, 2020, First U-Girder erected in record 8 months 15 days since the beginning of piling work of Kanpur Metro project. A total of 638 U-girders will be laid on the 9 km long Priority Section (IIT-Motijheel). On 31st August, 2020, European Investment Bank (EIB) signed finance contract for the funding of Kanpur Metro Project for Euro 650 million (INR 5551.99 cr) through a virtual signing ceremony.

On 13th October, 2020, Kanpur Metro completed erection of 106 double T-Girders for concourse level of stations in just 2.5 months which began on 25th July, 2020 when first T-Girder was erected for the first time in India. The erection of T-Girders was done for constructing the base of concourse levels of the platforms of IIT (50 T-Girders) and Kalyanpur Metro station (52 T-Girders).

On 17th October, 2020 UPMRC achieved yet another milestone of erecting 100 U-Girders under ‘Priority Corridor’ from ‘IIT to Motijheel’. The erection work began on 12th August, 2020 and in a time span of just 67 days, Kanpur Metro has achieved this landmark figure of 100. Total 638 U-Girders will be placed along the viaduct of this section.

UPMRC is committed to the goal of completing the ‘Priority Section’ of Kanpur Metro from ‘IIT to MotiJheel’ by December 2021 and start operations of the entire 23.785 km comprising 22 stations from ‘IIT Kanpur to Naubasta’ in 2024.

On 17th October, 2020 UPMRC achieved yet another milestone of erecting 100 U-Girders



What are the new technologies being adopted on Agra and Kanpur Metro projects and what is the impact of digitization on the Metro sector?

Digitization is the future and will have an immense impact on the implementation of Metro Rail Systems pan India. The latest technology has been adopted to ensure Agra & Kanpur Metro projects are built according to world-class standards. Building Information Modeling (BIM) will be implemented in forthcoming projects of UPMRC.

BIM is an intelligent 3-D model-based construction of stations integrating new designs & techniques.

People of Lucknow are adopting metro for their safety and convenience

BIM design & its implementation will prove vital for ensuring cost-effectiveness & timely completion of the work. Lucknow Metro has also launched ‘GoSmart Card’ which will be used for multiple public transport systems & also for shopping by people in the future.



What is the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the ridership as the Metro operations have started in Lucknow last month?

The ridership has definitely been impacted since the outbreak of this pandemic but the dedicated & committed UPMRC team has resumed operations in the post-Covid era albeit with all necessary safety measures & precautions.

UPMRC GoSmart card is contactless smart card working on RF Technology

The ridership has revived since restarting operations on 7th September 2020 with around 15% of the pre Covid levels and it is expected to rise further in upcoming weeks.


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