ST bus drivers must get assistance on priority

Updated: May 21, 2020, 07:19 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

These buses must have designated halts at certain bus stands, which is necessary on such a long journey

One can feel the pain and angst of ST bus drivers ferrying migrants, detailed in a frontpage report in this paper. The drivers who are transporting these migrant labourers back to their states are doing a service to the city.

They need to have all the safety gear. Good quality masks, with spares if needed on the road journey, with many of them traversing 700 km or so, and sanitisers are absolutely mandatory. The buses need to be sanitised before and after every journey. Gloves too must be made available for the drivers in case they wish to use them.

These buses must have designated halts at certain bus stands, which is necessary on such a long journey. The bus stations must have sanitisation facilities and, as far as possible, clean washrooms for the few staff transporting this huge shifting population outside the city.

While the drivers will be inevitably exposed to a number of people, we have to keep all other safety parameters in place. It was shocking to read that some buses have one driver for the journey. Staff crunch accepted, but you need two drivers or one available at some depot midway in case the current driver needs a break or has to be replaced.

Authorities must see that these drivers have adequate, clean food for the course of the journey. Clean drinking water is non-negotiable. It was disheartening to read that they are at times, not equipped with these and rely on NGOs on the way for food. They cannot even buy food as most eateries or dhabas where bus drivers traditionally eat are closed because of the pandemic.

Though trains have started for migrants, buses too play a very important role, in what may be the largest reverse migration in the world. Let us keep those that are driving that movement, literally at the top of our concern and caution chain.

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