‘Impossible to maintain social distancing in public transport’


Neeta Shetty, May 23, 2020, 4:22 PM IST

Mangaluru: While maintaining social distancing and hygiene might be the mantra to keep Covid 19 at bay, one can but wonder whether implementing the same will be possible in public transport vehicles.

After a gap of nearly two months KSRTC buses have resumed services in the district. Private buses however have chosen to stay off the roads for now.

Overcrowded buses were a common sight in Mangaluru before the lockdown. However the government’s call for allowing only 30 passengers in a bus, at a time, in order to maintain social distancing would be an arduous task for the operators to achieve.

Lets face it, controlling commuters especially when everyone is in a hurry to reach their destination is going to be pretty difficult.

Speaking to Udayavani, DK Bus Owners Association president Dilraj Alva opined that it would be highly impossible to maintain social distancing norms in buses. The operators can try best not to allow standing commuters in the bus he added.

Ticket fare revision:

We had been demanding for a 15 percent rate hike since the year 2016. In the wake of Covid 19 and limitations imposed on number of passengers, operators demanded a 50 percent hike in bus fare but the government has consented to just 15 per cent.

Sanitisation of buses

The district administration is yet to inform us about SOPs. If sanitisation is a must after each trip, who will bear the cost of sanitisation. The government or district administration should do so.

Resuming services in a day or two

This seems unlikely given the fact that technically there is no provision in Motor Vehicle Act which would exempt bus owners from paying road tax for the month of May if services are resumed now. The government has to give a notification for the exemption.

Cashless ticket facility

Such a facility can be introduced to avoid contact. It is an option that we are considering, however implementing the same may require some time.

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