Punjab to resume bus service from May 20 with 50 pc occupancy

Chandigarh, May 18 (PTI) Public bus services will resume from May 20 on select routes within Punjab, state Transport Minister Razia Sultana said on Monday as the nationwide COVID-19-triggered lockdown entered its fourth phase.

She said buses will be run at 50 per cent occupancy.

The decision came after a meeting of the transport department here.          The Punjab government's move to resume public transport services came after the Centre allowed states to run buses in non-containment zones.

She said it has been decided that state transport undertaking buses from Wednesday onwards will be allowed to ply on select routes from point-to-point between major cities and district headquarter with 50 per cent occupancy.

'We will resume bus services from Wednesday' and at 50 per cent occupancy, Sultana said here, adding that 'if a bus has 50 seats, then only 25 passengers will be allowed to travel'.

Bus services will be resumed only within the state and these will ply between districts, she said.

These buses will embark from bus stands only, where all the passengers will be screened before they are allowed to board the buses, she said in an official release.   Sultana said the decision to relax the restrictions on plying of public transport has been taken in consonance with the latest guidelines issued by the government of India.

The minister said the transport department would ensure that health and hygiene protocol pertaining to COVID-19 was completely adhered to while plying buses.

She said it will be ensured that all the passengers are maintaining social distancing in public transport, wearing masks and sanitising their hands with sanitiser provided by drivers.

These relaxations are applicable within Punjab and shall not extend to the containment zones notified by the state government, she said.

The transport minister further said that for taxi, four wheelers and cab aggregators, it shall be limited to one driver and two passengers.

Likewise for rickshaw and auto rickshaws, which are properly registered and paying tax regularly, it shall be limited to one driver or puller and two passengers.

Similarly, for two wheelers and bicycles, it shall be limited to one rider or wife and husband or rider with one minor child.

The transport minister said detailed guidelines in this regard will soon be issued.

Curfew restrictions in Punjab were lifted on Monday while lockdown has been imposed till May 31.  To prevent the spread of coronavirus, some states had imposed further curfew restrictions, besides prohibitory orders issued under the nationwide lockdown enforced by the Centre since March 25. PTI CHS VSD KJ KJ KJ