From Sunday, DTC and cluster buses to run at full seating capacity
The DTC said allowing buses to run at full capacity will bring comfort to passengers and also help the corporation marginally inch towards pre-Covid revenue collection.Updated: Nov 01, 2020, 02:01 IST
From Sunday, Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and cluster buses will operate at full seating capacity, but no passenger will be allowed to stand and travel, transport minister Kailash Gahlot said.
The move, approved by lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal, is going to give a much-needed relief to commuters who have been facing a harrowing time with waiting time for buses sometimes going up to two hours and all social distancing norms being flouted at overcrowded stands.
State-run buses in Delhi resumed services from May 18 as part of the gradual relaxation the nationwide lockdown imposed from March 25. But the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had restricted bus intake and mandated that only 20 passengers be allowed per bus, thereby reducing by half the passenger intake of the over 6,000 DTC and 600 cluster buses. In March, DTC and cluster buses together carried over 3.2 million passengers daily, which went down to 1.3 million in August, DTC data showed.
“From Sunday, all seats on our DTC and cluster buses will be open for passengers to sit and travel. However, no one will be allowed to stand inside the bus or sit on the floor. Wearing masks will be mandatory for entry into the buses. Our conductor and civil defence volunteers will check this and also ensure social distancing,” Gahlot said.
On Saturday evening, chief secretary Vijay Dev issued an order saying in case of any violation, “disciplinary proceedings” shall be initiated against the driver and the conductor of the bus, and responsibility shall be fixed of the depot manager concerned for the supervisory lapses.”
A senior Delhi Metro official said there is no plan as of now to increase the passenger capacity on Metro trains.
The minister added that interstate buses and interstate bus terminals will, in all likelihood, resume services from Monday. He said the transport department has prepared the standard operating procedures in this regard.
When asked if the decision to lift restrictions was appropriate in view of Covid-19, health minister Satyendar Jain said a lockdown was no solution to the spread of infection.
“If the passengers are wearing masks, then increasing the seating capacity on buses will not be a problem. If even one person is not wearing a mask, then having the restriction of just 20 passengers per bus will not work. So, rather than imposing restrictions, focus should be on ensuring that people wear masks. All other states are running buses at full capacity now,” said Jain.
With the addition of the festive rush, crowded bus stops underscores a new worry in Delhi’s fight against Covid-19. Buses and the Metro are the two primary mass transit options available in a city of nearly 20 million.
The DTC said allowing buses to run at full capacity will bring comfort to passengers and also help the corporation marginally inch towards pre-Covid revenue collection. Earnings through tickets for the DTC dropped by almost Rs167 crore during the months of March, April, May and June as compared to the same period in 2019.