The Maharashtra government has proposed to the railway authorities that general public be allowed to travel by Mumbai local trains during non-peak hours, officials said on Wednesday.
The proposal will be forwarded to the Railway Board, said a railway official.
At present only certain categories of persons including essential services staff are allowed to travel by local trains, Mumbai's lifeline, in view of the coronavirus threat.
In a letter to the railways, the state government suggested that any person holding a valid ticket be allowed to board local trains till 7.30 in the morning, between 11 am to 4 pm and between 8 pm till the end of the day.
The time between 8 am to 10:30 am and 5 pm to 7.30 pm should be reserved for essential services staff having valid QR coded identity cards, and there should be ladies special trains every hour, the state government said.
"The state is looking to open up the local train services to the general public while ensuring adherence to all COVID-19 protocols," said the letter marked to general managers of Central Railway and Western Railway besides the Government Railway Police commissioner.
The state government also sought increase in the frequency of suburban services that are being operated for essential services staff since June 15.
The railway authorities replied cautiously to the state government's demand.
"Railways has always been ready to augment/ enhance suburban services keeping social distancing norms.
"We are working closely with the state Government of Maharashtra to provide these additional services after consultation with them," the Central Railway and Western Railway tweeted.
The state's proposal will be forwarded to the Railway Board for consideration, an official said.
Earlier this month, the railway authorities permitted all women commuters to travel by suburban services during non-peak hours.
Currently the railway authorities are operating 1,410 special services on the Mumbai suburban network, including 10 ladies special trains.