Gearing up to resume the bus service in the city, the PMPML has put the onus on conductors to ensure that no suspected Covid-19 patient is allowed to board the bus and no passenger is allowed entry without a mask.
In the standard operating procedure (SOP) declared for restarting the bus service, which has been halted for five months, Managing Director Rajendra Jagtap said each PMPML bus will ply with half its passenger capacity — 20 passengers, 17 sitting and three standing — at a time.
The passengers will sit in a zig-zag manner on alternate seats, he said. “If a suspected patient tried to board the bus, then a request should be made to that person not to get on the bus, and if need be, contact the emergency numbers of PMPML, PMC, PCMC and the district collectorate for further action.”
The bus conductor should also ensure that no person below the age of 10 years or above 65 years boards the bus, and entry should not be given to any passenger who is not wearing a mask. Temperature guns have to be used to check the temperature of every passenger boarding the bus.
Both conductor and bus driver have to wear a face shield, masks and gloves while on the bus, Jagtap said, adding that the driver’s cabin will have a plastic partition, and the driver will be responsible for getting the bus disinfected.
Every bus will ply on the streets only after getting completely disinfected, he said. “Managers of all the 13 bus depots have to ensure that the staff, including bus driver and conductor, are not allowed to report to duty without a temperature check at the depot gate or without a mask.”
The PMPML plan is to ply 421 buses on 190 routes in Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and suburbs. Additional 120 buses wil ply on the streets as shuttle service during peak hours. A total of 756 drivers and 819 conductors will be on duty.
The PMPML is the only public transport bus service in the city that covers Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad and adjoining rural area of Pune district. The service was halted during the lockdown, leading to huge losses for the company. The income of the company had dropped from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 3 lakh daily. As per government directions, the losses have to be incurred jointly by PMC and PCMC, as they are the stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the PMPML had provided 1,487 buses to PMC and 335 buses to PCMC for Covid-19 related services, to ply patients to and from Covid Care Centres, civic hospitals and for other emergencies. Also, 4,085 PMPML staff were put on Covid-19-related duties in both civic bodies.
The PMPML has urged both PMC and PCMC to compensate it for the losses it incurred during the lockdown.