Bus services resume within Punjab, not many takers
Before the start of operations, all buses were sanitised; passengers had to undergo temperature screening at bus standsUpdated: May 20, 2020 23:29 IST
Bus services for the public resumed in Punjab on Wednesday almost two months after their suspension in the wake of the covid-19 outbreak. Buses of the state-owned Punjab Roadways and Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) plied on select routes in non-containment zones within the state, officials said.
The state had announced resumption of point-to-point bus services between major cities and district headquarters from May 20 with 50% occupancy. Inter-state bus services will not resume till May 31.
Before the start of operations, all buses were sanitised. Passengers had to undergo temperature screening at bus stands before being allowed to board buses, officials said.
At a few places, including Jalandhar and Amritsar, passengers came to bus stands as early as 5am and complained of not getting buses despite waiting for long. Many complained that they were made to wait till the bus had 50% occupancy.
In Bathinda, there was little demand and buses had to wait for hours to get even 25 passengers (50% of capacity). Jaskaran Singh, a PRTC employee at Bathinda depot, said, “The average waiting time for buses was 90 minutes. In total, 21 buses ran on nine routes.”
Three routes resume in Amritsar
From Amritsar, service was resumed on three routes -- to Dera Baba Nanak, to Pathankot and to Jalandhar. In Patiala, the PRTC plied its buses on 10 routes which included Samana, Patran, Nabha, Malerkotla and Jalandhar.
At Hoshiarpur bus stand, Punjab Roadways duty inspector Madan Lal said the bus services on five routes — Hoshiarpur to Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana; Tanda-Batala; and Mukerian-Pathankot-Gurdaspur — were resumed.
Thirty buses moved out of Pathankot ISBT to Amritsar, Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar. “On the Amritsar route, buses stopped only at Dinanagar, Gurdaspur and Batala. On the Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar journey, the only stoppages were in Mukerian and Dasuya, respectively,” said Jeevan Kumar, nodal officer, Punjab Roadways, Pathankot, adding that all passengers were screened.
Queue in Jalandhar
The bus stand in Jalandhar saw a rush of passengers and people lining up in queues with tickets being issued only from the counter to ensure social distancing was maintained. “From here, 55 main routes have been restarted and 155 buses will run,” said Parneet Minhas, deputy director, in-charge of bus operations.
Not enough passengers in Barnala
Seven routes have been re-started from the town, with none of the buses able to get passengers to fill even 50% of the seats on Wednesday. A driver, Malkit Singh said, “So far, only two passengers have boarded this bus that will go directly to Sangrur bus stand from here. Passengers are not allowed to board or alight en route.” Buses ran from here to Sangrur, Patiala, Chandigarh, Mansa, Moga, Bathinda and Ludhiana.
—With PTI inputs