The Maharashtra government has allowed the Railways to issue single and return journey tickets to passengers for travel in Mumbai suburban trains, The Indian Express reported.

Earlier, only people working in essential services could obtain single and return journey tickets, while other passengers needed to get monthly, quarterly or half-yearly passes.

However, an order by Aseem Gupta, principal secretary of Disaster Management, said that only fully vaccinated persons should be allowed to travel on local trains, irrespective of whether they are engaged in essential services or not.

The Central and Western Railways will soon issue directives to ticketing authorities on the matter. Sumit Thakur, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Western Railways, told The Indian Express that authorities will begin issuing daily tickets from Sunday itself.

The state government stated that it took the decision after the Railways noted that a lot people had been travelling without tickets. “...As a result of this, the railways are facing huge losses in their revenue and also it is more dangerous from a point of view of the spread of Covid-19 cases,” the order said.

On October 26, the state government had announced that complete vaccination against Covid-19 will be mandatory for everyone, including essential workers, who want to travel in local trains.

Before that, residents engaged in essential services and government employees were allowed to board local trains, irrespective of their vaccination status. Others were allowed to board local trains only if they had taken taken both doses of the vaccine and more than 14 days had elapsed since the complete vaccination.

The state government’s order on October 26 said that its definition of a vaccinated person includes “people who have completed both doses of the vaccine and 14 days have elapsed since the administration of the second dose”.

It added that the definition includes “people who cannot take the vaccine due to medical reasons and people who cannot take the vaccine due to age restrictions”.

The order said that passes for local trains will be issued only to those who come within this definition of a vaccinated person, irrespective of whether they are essential workers.

From August 15, fully vaccinated people have been allowed to board local trains in Mumbai.