COVID-19: Bus Services Start in Kerala on Restricted Time Schedule

Fares have been increased by 50 % and only limited seating is allowed in the buses. Wearings masks in mandatory.

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The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses have started operations in various districts of the state starting Wednesday, 20 May. The bus services will resume only in the main centres of the respective districts.

With a 50 percent hike in bus fares, 1,850 KSRTC buses will operate within districts during the time periods, 7am-11am and 4pm-7pm.

The strict guidelines include a maximum number of passengers of 24 to 28 depending on the seating capacity of a bus, and no standing passengers are allowed. Masks have been made mandatory.

However, as private buses are not ready for transportation, public transport will not be resumed in northern districts of Kerala.

Transport Minister AK Saseendran had rejected the demand of private bus owners to double the bus fares. The minister said that tax exemptions were made so that neither the bus owners nor the passengers have to suffer.

The KSRTC has been operating special services since 11 May for employees of the State Secretariat from the city depots in the capital district.

At Alappuzha, where the KSRTC operates motor boats in the Vembanad lake, services commenced, and here too all the norms were being followed.

"Since today being the first day and people do not know the schedules. In the coming days, we are sure more people will be using our service. Moreover, opening of shops and offices have just started. A seat, which can accommodate three people, will have only two people sitting now," said a KSRTC boat conductor operating on the Alappuzha-Nedumudy sector.

As of 20 May, the state only has 642 total COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths.

(With inputs from IANS)

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