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No plans to hike bus fare, says Transport Minister Vijayabhaskar

Denying rumours that the State government was going to increase bus fare, Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar said on Tuesday that there was no such plan on the anvil. “The buses are being operated at the prevailing fare without any hike,” he said in response to a query.

No plans to hike bus fare, says Transport Minister Vijayabhaskar


On Tuesday, when services resumed after 161 days, 6,090 buses were operated across the State as against the total fleet strength of 22,000 buses. “As of 1 pm on Tuesday, we operated 6,090 buses with 60 per cent occupancy of seats – 32 seats in mofussil buses and 24 in town buses. Additional buses would be operated based on demand,” he said, after inspecting the disinfection activities at the Chennai Central bus depot.

Explaining safety measures for bus crew, Vijayabhaskar said they were provided gloves, masks and hand sanitisers. “COVID-19 tests will be conducted for workers if they have symptoms.”

Though the government allowed buses to run only within districts, they were allowed to cross the borders in some places. “If the buses are stopped at the district border, the commuters will be forced to walk for a long distance in some places. So, we allowed the buses to drop the passengers at nearby bus stands across the border,” he added.

Normally, the monthly passes are valid for 30 days from the 16th of every month. In March, those who purchased passes were able to use it only till March 24 after which lockdown was imposed. The validity of passes has been extended till September 15 and new monthly passes would be sold from Wednesday, he said. When asked about the cases where all the seats were occupied, Vijayabhaskar said social distancing norms were violated in some exceptional situations, and said such issues were being looked into.

Day one: Less patronage for MTC buses
Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), which operated its buses after over five months, saw limited patronage with the public sticking to private transport.
The buses were operated with 60 per cent seat occupancy, with passengers and crew wearing masks. The MTC that has a fleet of 3,600 buses operated about 2,400 buses on Tuesday, said sources. “We will increase the number of services if there is an increase in the patronage,” the official added.
K Saravanan, a daily wager from Korukupet said he was relieved that the service resumed after five months. “With no bus service, I was forced to ride in my bicycle to my office at Guindy Industrial estate where I work as a security guard,” he said, waiting for 44C (IOC to Broadway).
A conductor at Broadway complained that the most difficult was in regulating the entry and exit of the passengers in the bus – as per the norms, they should through the rear door and exit through the front door. “But passengers were trying to board through the front door,” he said. He said he found uneasy to wear the face shield and mask.
A driver from Tondiarpet said there was minimal number of people waiting at bus stops even though road remained congested. “I think people are afraid to travel on buses fearing coronavirus. Maybe more people will board bus in the coming days,” he added.

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