New Delhi, Delhi Lockdown 4.0: The Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi has made full preparations for starting public transport from May 18, amid the possibility of relaxation from the central government in the fourth phase of lockdown. On the orders of the Delhi government, DTC and DIMTS (Delhi Transport Corporation and Delhi Integrated Multi-Model Transit System) have asked their drivers-operators to be ready. Both agencies are ready to take a hundred percent buses on the roads.
It is being told that the buses running on the roads will be sanitized at the bus stand after every round. There will be no need to send the buses to the depot for this.
It has also been decided that 20-22 passengers will be allowed to travel on one bus due to Corona infection. No more will be able to ride on the bus. This will be done due to physical distancing. To ensure proper physical distance, two marshals will be deployed on each bus. However, there is confusion about running air-conditioned buses. In this regard, the Transport Department has also sought advice from Health Department officials.
It is believed that AC infection spreads corona rapidly. DTC operates about 3750 buses. At the same time, the total number of DTC and cluster buses is close to six thousand. The CoDTC and DIMTS have been instructed to keep their buses ready.
Kailash Gehlot (Transport Minister, Delhi) says that we will operate 100 percent buses if the central government gives permission. Half the seats in the buses are to be kept vacant, so more buses will be required. There is also an appeal to the public to follow the rules regarding the transport system. Let us know that during lockdown-4, the matter of giving many discounts in Delhi is coming out.
ITDP India Programme’s report has immediate and medium-term recommendations for transport undertakings reopening bus operations. Some of the key highlights of the report are:
*Only commuters wearing the masks must be allowed to board the bus.
*Conductors must take care that passengers queue up to board and alight the vehicle and ensure it doesn’t get overcrowded.
*Contactless ticketing formally options like passes and digital payments must be developed and promoted.
*Agencies must try to communicate relevant and updated passenger information to avoid overcrowding and confusion.
*And finally, terminals, bus stops and the buses must be sanitized regularly.
Is India’s public transport infrastructure equipped to deal with the usual demand while maintaining social distancing?
COVID pandemic has changed the way people work and commute. In cities across the globe that have reopened, the ridership of all public transport starts off low — only 30-40% of previous users return — but gradually grows to pre-lockdown the levels of demand. Public bus agencies in India should resume operations with their full fleet and hire additional private buses to serve passengers without crowding. Many State Transport Undertakings (STUs) already hire private buses on a contract basis.
I find my solace in reading and trying my hand at writing.