Public buses in the national capital have been allowed to run at full seating capacity by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal, a senior government official said Friday. A transport department official said an order to this effect “will be issued in a day or two”.
The decision, based on a proposal made by the Transport Department headed by Kailash Gahlot, comes in the middle of a sharp spike in the city’s daily Covid case count and positivity rate.
The department is also preparing a standard operating procedure to reopen the Inter-State Bus Terminals (ISBT) located at Anand Vihar, Kashmere Gate and Sarai Kale Khan. The ISBTs, which witness a footfall of over 2.5 lakh daily, have been shut since March 21.
Over 40 lakh people used to avail bus services on a daily basis before the pandemic. However, ever since bus services resumed on May 19 after a two-month lockdown, buses were allowed to seat only up to 20 passengers to prevent transmission of the virus.
There are 6,595 public buses in Delhi currently, which is half the number it actually requires to cater to a population of over 2 crore.
The restrictions on seating were leading to long waiting periods for passengers and crowding at bus stops.
After assessing the situation, the transport department had recently sent a proposal to the DDMA to raise the seating capacity. The department had also factored in the revenue loss owing to the restrictions.
With the DDMA approval, AC buses will be able to carry 35 passengers while non-AC buses have a seating capacity of 41.
Leader of the Opposition and BJP MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri welcomed the DDMA move. “I thank L-G Anil Baijal for the decision, which will alleviate the woes of regular bus commuters,” Bidhuri said.
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