Coronavirus impact: Delhi's public transport back on track

Updated: May 20, 2020, 07:29 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

We are trying to run as many buses as possible. But, many buses are under special hire and also some of our drivers and conductors living in the NCR cities are finding it difficult to join the duty. The situation will improve in the coming days

Passengers maintain social distance while travelling in a bus in New Delhi on Tuesday. Pic/PTI
Passengers maintain social distance while travelling in a bus in New Delhi on Tuesday. Pic/PTI

Public transport resumed in Delhi on Tuesday with buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis plying on roads, albeit with a limited number of passengers, after a gap of nearly two months due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said the department is taking all necessary precautions with regard to the resumption of public transport and urged people to wear masks and ensure social distancing.

"At some terminals and bus stands, we have started conducting thermal screening of passengers before boarding. We will try to implement this at all busy bus stands. Under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, the government is taking all necessary steps to ensure safe transport for people," he tweeted. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses resumed services with social distancing norms and safety measures like use of sanitisers and masks in place to check the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

"We are trying to run as many buses as possible. But, many buses are under special hire and also some of our drivers and conductors living in the NCR cities are finding it difficult to join the duty. The situation will improve in the coming days," a senior transport officer said. He said no major issues have been reported since the bus services resumed in the morning, except in some areas where people had to wait a bit longer. Sources said some cluster buses in rural areas did not ply as drivers stayed away from work claiming their wages for the lockdown period had not been paid. "Many cluster buses from Dichao Kalan, Kanjhawala, Kair and Bawana depot did not ply as the drivers demanding payment of their pending wages refused to join work," said a source. The Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System (DIMTS) operates over 2,500 cluster buses in the city.

The DTC runs nearly 3,900 buses. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday announced relaxations in curbs, including reopening of public transport with social distancing norms, during the extended lockdown that is slated to end on May 31. "In a bus, only 20 passengers will be allowed to travel. The Transport Department will have the responsibility to maintain social distancing during travel and at bus stops," he had said. Kejriwal had said drivers of taxis, auto-rickshaws and cabs will have to disinfect the sitting area of passengers after every trip. Maxi cabs can ply with five passengers and RTVs with 11. Bus and other public transport services were shut in the last week of March.

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