Maharashtra: ST buses to run at 100% capacity

Mumbai: Maharashtra decided to run 5,500 state transport (ST) buses with 100% capacity across Maharashtra from Friday. However Transport experts claims this decision to be disastrous and lead to a spread of COVID-19 across state which is already the worst-affected.

On state government approval for 100% occupancy, MSRTC managing director Shekhar Channe said, “Passengers will have to follow rules like wearing a mask and sanitising their hands. Our buses will be sanitised for every journey.”

For BEST in Mumbai it will continue to run 3,500 buses upto 50% occupancy—one passenger for every two seats. MSRTC head Shekhar Channe mentioned that online reservations will allow booking of all seats on a bus.

According to Sources, the MSRTC were incurring heavy losses with the 50% occupancy rule, had requested the government to allow 100% occupancy similar to state-operated buses in a few neighbouring states like Gujarat and Karnataka.

The MSRTC had increased its travels to five lakh passengers a day after it started inter-district travel from August 20. An official said the monthly revenue collection is expected to touch Rs 100 crore for state run bus.

However transport expert Gaurang Vora claimed, “The basic rule of keeping a distance between two passengers prevents the spread of coronavirus, then why STs should be allowed 100% occupancy if the city bus are working with half of its capacity as it will compromise the social distancing norms”.

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