New Delhi, Nov 1 (PTI) The DTC and Cluster buses resumed plying with full seating capacity on Sunday, with Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot urging travellers to wear masks and observe COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.
In a tweet, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) said intra-state movement of buses has been permitted with full seating capacity on a trial basis, subject to condition that no passenger will travel standing and without mask.
Owing to closure of offices, the number of passengers who travelled on buses on Sunday was relatively low.
However, at some crowded bus stands like ITO and Dhaula Kuan, drivers and conductors had to struggle to manage the commuters who were trying to board the buses.
'It is difficult to maintain the required social distance of six feet in a bus even if no one is standing in the corridor, because seats are very close.
'But there is no other option because how long can you sit at home and not go out to earn for your family,' said Ram Sajivan, a daily wager, who was travelling in a bus from Anand Vihar to Badarpur Border.
Gahlot tweeted 'I would appeal to all passengers to wear mask and observe Covid appropriate behaviour.' The number of passengers is likely to increase on Monday when more people use the public transport buses to commute to work and other purposes.
The Delhi government on May 20 directed that a maximum of 20 passengers in public transport buses will be allowed in view of maintaining proper social distance to check the spread of coronavirus.
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in its order on Saturday said movement of buses will be permitted on trial basis up to November 8 or till further orders, whichever is earlier, subject to the condition that no passenger will be allowed to travel in a standing position and without mask and all other stipulations of standard operating procedure.
However, the move to resume operation of DTC and Cluster buses with full seating capacity comes at a time when the city is witnessing a surge of COVID-19 cases with upwards of 5,000 new infections being reported daily for the past few days.
As per the standard operating procedure issued by DDMA, in case more persons than seating capacity board the bus, the driver and conductor will request the extra passengers to de-board the bus with the help of marshal.
In case, the extra passengers refuse to comply with the order, the driver and conductor will seek police assistance, it said.
The DDMA order states in case, the driver of any DTC or Cluster bus is found carrying passengers more than the seating capacity of the vehicle, strict disciplinary action will be taken against him and he will also be liable for prosecution action under Disaster Management Act 2005.
The DTC and Cluster buses can seat up to 40 passengers. There are around 3,800 buses run by the DTC and over 2,600 run under Cluster scheme of Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System. PTI VIT TDS TDS