After a hiatus of about two months, the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) is set to resume bus services for the public in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad as the new unlock rules come into effect from Monday. The public transport provider has been allowed to operate at 50 per cent capacity under the new relaxations.
Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations are in level 3 of unlockdown, as per the parameters of Covid-19 positivity rate (between 5 to 10 per cent) and occupancy of oxygen beds (more than 40 per cent) set by the Maharashtra government to determine the five levels of restrictions to be imposed across the state.
“We will resume the service at 50 per cent capacity by taking all the necessary precautions. The buses that we are using will be sanitised every day. People above 60 years and below 10 years will not be allowed to board,” Rajendra Jagtap, chairman and managing director of PMPML, said.
The transport services were suspended on April 3 after Covid-19 cases in the city saw an exponential rise. During this period, only a few buses were plying to serve essential workers.
“From Monday, we will commence the service with 416 buses on 179 routes, this will cover all the main routes in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. We are also scheduling shuttle service during morning and evening hours so that the buses on busy routes do not get crowded and commuters don’t have to wait for long,” said Jagtap.
The driver’s cabin has been isolated from the rest of the bus with plastic sheets and driver-conductors have been provided face shields, gloves and masks to ensure they and the passengers remain safe.
Every passenger boarding the bus will have to undergo thermal screening and sanitise his or her hands. “It is mandatory for passengers to wear masks in the bus and follow social-distancing norms. Passengers without masks will not be allowed on the bus”, PMPML stated in a press release.
The PMPML administration has appealed to commuters to adhere to social distancing norms and follow the norms of 50 per cent occupancy.