With private bus operators being badly hit by the extended lockdown as well as a stringent e-pass system for ferrying passengers, an association of private bus operators has urged the state government to permit private buses to ply inter-district within Maharashtra.
The Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatna (MBMS) has 80,000 members across the state and close to 38,000 in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). In a letter issued on Sunday, the association said that if their concerns were not addressed by the state, they will park their buses within the premises of the Regional Transport Offices (RTO) across the state.
The association has alleged that private buses from neighbouring states are ferrying in passengers unchecked and without adhering to social distancing norms, and are also taking bookings for inter-district travel.
This, they said, has severely affected their business, which has come to a halt over the past 90 days since the lockdown came into effect on March 23. The bus association has asked the government to allow privates buses to commence inter-district travel and consider waving off road tax for the next six months.
General Secretory of MBMS, Harsh Kotak said, “Our livelihood has been hampered as the government wanted to contain the spread of Covid-19. But with the way the private buses are operating, there is no check on them, while we suffer because of stringent norms.” He added that getting an e-pass takes about five days in Maharashtra, which is further hurting their business.
According to Kotak, in an overnight drive jointly held by RTO and MBMS volunteers, about 100 odd private buses working while flouting social distancing norms were held on Saturday.
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