City bus service to resume early next month
The Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited (GMCBL) is likely to relaunch the city’s Gurugaman bus service in early June, once Lockdown 4.0 has ended. Officials said that a standard operating procedure(SOP) for staff and commuters is in the process of being drafted and that measures such as thermal scanning, foot-operated hand sanitisers, alternate seating arrangements and cashless ticketing will be the new norm in city buses in the coming months.
Sonal Goel, CEO, GMCBL, on Thursday held a meeting at the city bus depot in Sector 10 to discuss these arrangements with the Gurugaman staff. While Goel did not respond to requests for comment, a spokesperson confirmed that the CEO has instructed officials to work on setting up smart card counters at select bus stops to promote cashless ticketing.
“We cannot stop taking cash, but smart cards have a lower chance of contact so we are going to aggressively promote them,” said Vanita Akhaury, spokesperson, GMCBL. She also confirmed that a significant dip in ridership is expected. “People are not travelling. Moreover, we are ourselves going to limit the number of commuters per bus. No two consecutive seats can be occupied, and no standing passengers will be allowed,” she explained.
In addition to these steps, the service will operate fewer buses at a lesser frequency, and also possibly with lesser (or revised) routes. The SOP document, expected to be finalised by the weekend, will contain the necessary details, said Akhaury.
Since suspending operations on March 24, when Gurugram district went into lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, Gurugaman buses have been deployed across the city as sample-collection labs for testing, as roving grocery markets catering to RWAs, in distributing food and ration to migrant workers, and also as a conveyance for health department officials working in the field. Foreign returnees travelling from Delhi airport to quarantine centres in Gurugram are also being ferried using a fleet of 15 city buses.