Chandigarh Transport Undertaking resumes inter-state bus service to thin occupancy
As per safety protocols, only 26 passengers were allowed per bus, although some buses could not even manage this numberUpdated: Sep 17, 2020 00:23 IST
Bringing much-needed respite to the residents, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) resumed inter-state services in Punjab and Haryana with 50% occupancy and 33 buses plying on 15 routes on Wednesday.
As per safety protocols, only 26 passengers were allowed per bus, although some buses could not even manage this number. The CTU staff blamed it on the lack of awareness about the resumption of inter-state services, coupled with fear of infection.
The buses were operational from both the bus stands—ISBT, Sector 17, and ISBT, Sector 43.
“The conductor scanned us and asked us to sit leaving the middle seat empty,” said Ashok Nath of Jagatpura in Mohali, who was travelling with his wife and waiting for his bus at ISBT-17.
Amit Gupta, general manager, CTU, said, “We started with 33 buses and all routes were functional. Occupancy-wise, it was a good start.”
“The staff was instructed not to pick passengers on the route and to operate only between source and destination. However, certain buses that could not manage to get 26 passengers, passengers were picked up en route,” said a CTU staff member, wishing not to be named.
After a nationwide lockdown was announced on March 23, CTU had suspended services. On June 10, CTU had briefly resumed bus services to neighbouring states of Haryana and Punjab, but again suspended them after a few days owing to a sudden surge in the coronavirus cases.
Passengers welcomed with thermal scanners, sanitisers
All bus conductors were provided with thermal scanners and sanitisers and every passenger was scanned before boarding.
Despite the facility of purchasing tickets online through CTU website www.ctuonline.chd.gov.in or through the mobile app ‘CTU Musafir’, most passengers opted to purchase them from the conductor before boarding the bus.
Every bus coming in or out of the bus stand was sanitised. The seats had stickers pasted on seats indicating ‘sit here’ and a cross mark meaning the seat was to be left empty. Most passengers were wearing masks with a few having replaced the protective gear with handkerchiefs.
In some buses, the drivers used polythene sheets to separate themselves from the passengers and nobody was allowed to sit in the first three seats of the bus.
Rush witnessed at bus stands
Though people were largely seen maintaining social distancing, a few were found standing in groups while waiting for buses. Many had masks around their necks and opted not to wear them. “The conductors were asking passengers to wear masks properly, but no one checked those waiting at the bus stand,” said Shudhashu Mishra, a resident of Sector 49 who was travelling to Hoshiarpur.