At lower occupancy rate, bus journey to become costlier post lockdown

As the buses are allowed to carry only less than 50 per cent of its occupancy capacity, a journey in omnibuses is set to become costlier when the restrictions are lifted.
At lower occupancy rate, bus journey to become costlier post lockdown
Staff alighting from a MTC special at Secretariat; employees at work in a govt office on Monday

Chennai

The price rise has become imperative to make up for the losses as the buses will have to conduct services with just 50 per cent passengers, in line with the social distancing norms said a private bus owner.
At present, the bus fare has been fixed at Rs 1.60 per km. “If we are going to reduce the occupancy to 50 per cent, we have to double the bus fare to Rs 3.20 per km. There is no other option but to hike the fare,” the bus owner said. In a non-AC omnibus, the ticket for a seater for Chennai to Coimbatore would cost Rs 700 per passenger normally. Post-lockdown, it would cost Rs 1,400 a passenger.
A senior transport corporation official said that there would not be any hike in the transport corporation buses even though the social distancing norms leads to losses. “Already, the corporation buses are running under losses due to low fares. The break-even cost would be varying between Rs 45 per km and Rs 50 per km for the corporations. With the social distancing norm, it would go up by Rs 10 to Rs 15 per km,” the official said.
A Anbazhagan, general secretary, All Omni Bus Owners’ Association said that the lockdown has severely impacted the private bus operators.
“We have made several demands to the centre and the State governments but no action has been taken on it. Only after the guidelines for the operation of the omnibuses were issued by the Centre and the State governments, we will take a concrete decision on the bus ticket fares,” he said.
MTC runs 25 extra services to move govt employees
With the government offices starting to function with 50 per cent of its staff, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) has doubled bus services operated to the Secretariat from Monday.
“Considering the welfare of the public, the Chief Minister has extended the lockdown till May 31 and also ordered that the secretariat and other government departments function with 50 per cent staff. Hence, in addition to the 25 buses operated to the secretariat, 25 more buses will run from Monday,” an official release from the MTC said. As on Monday, a total of 200 buses were operated for the officials residing in various parts of the city.
The release said that 175 buses for transporting health workers and government staff were functioning during the lockdown, which began on March 25. With the State government extending the lockdown till May 31 and allowing 50 per cent staff to work in government offices, the MTC has started operating the buses from various bus depots, it added. More than 25 routes covering all parts of the city, including Madhavaram, Avadi, Anna Nagar, Vadapalani, Perambur, Purasawalkam, Mylapore, T Nagar, Adyar and Tiruvanmiyur, have been identified for this purpose.
If the request were made to operate more buses for the government staff, the MTC would be ready to operate the same, the release said.
A senior official of the MTC said that the corporation is also offering chartered bus services for private companies. “Any industries and commercial establishments located within 100 km radius of the city wanting to transport their employees to the workplace could contact the commercial department of MTC by sending a request letter addressed to the Managing Director,” the official said.

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