Business down for private bus operators after COVID tests become mandatory for passengers

  • | Monday | 30th November, 2020

After the state issued guidelines for conducting COVID tests and thermal scanning of travellers coming from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Goa, the private bus operators are witnessing a drop in the number of passengers travelling to Maharashtra. 

After the state issued guidelines for conducting COVID tests and thermal scanning of travellers coming from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa, the private bus operators are witnessing a drop in the number of passengers travelling to Maharashtra. 

“We are yet to come out of the financial mess resultant of the lockdown and the fresh rules have hit us again. We have witnessed a drop in passenger movements from the states of Goa and Gujarat. Private buses run to and from different states, including Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, etc, and we fear that the new regulations will hit the passenger traffic in the above sectors as well,” Kiran Desai, secretary of the Pune bus owners’ association told TOI.

When it comes to Pune, each day witnesses an average of around 200 private luxury buses coming to the city from the states of Gujarat and Goa. The average passenger traffic in these buses presently stands at between 30% and 49%, Desai said.

“The passenger traffic has dropped by around 7 to 10%. It is a bad sign for us considering the current issues we are facing. While the orders and regulations issued by the state government cannot be ignored, we are trying our best to ensure safety of the passengers. Some of us have kept the maximum seating capacity to 50% despite getting orders from the state government to run buses at full capacity,” said another transporter.

“Many travellers are now thinking twice before boarding a bus. We have had some passengers cancelling the tickets because they did not want to be stuck in queues at the state borders for testing and scanning,” another transporter said.

Balasaheb Khedekar, president of the Pune Luxury Bus Association, said, “The number of passengers are fewer and hence the temperature checks are happening fast.”

Shefali Gandhi, who was preparing herself to travel to Ahmedabad to see a sick relative of hers, said that she was unsure now. “I don’t have the funds to travel by air. However, with the new regulations in place, I think I will wait to see how things pan out in days to come,” she said.



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