Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) will resume its services in Pimpri-Chinchwad area from May 26 with each bus carrying only 21 passengers, or 50 per cent of its sitting capacity. The passengers will be seated in a zig-zag manner as per seat markings and there won’t be any standing passengers.
The passengers will have to wear masks and children below 10 and senior citizens aged above 65 will not be allowed to board the buses.
The public transport body, which has suffered losses of about Rs 100 crore due to suspension of services during the lockdown, has decided to resume services in Pimpri-Chinchwad (as well as some MIDC clusters located in suburban areas outside the municipal limits) after PCMC municipal commissioner Shravan Hardikar allowed the buses to operate at 50 per cent capacity.
Anant Waghmare, traffic manager, PMPML, said that the three depots in PCMC areas, namely Pimpri, Bhosari and Nigdi, will ply about 80 buses from Tuesday. “The seats have been marked in such a manner that half the seats will remain unoccupied. Separate markings have also been done on seats for women and men and to ensure that the passengers sit in a zig-zag manner, so that maximum distance is maintained between two closest passengers,” said Waghmare.
Apart from this, the buses will be sanitised at regular intervals and conductors will be asked to urge passengers to maintain social distancing. In addition, special sanitising teams will be deployed at the bus stops to clean the metal handles and seats.
Waghmare said that the transport body is presently operating 150 buses in various parts of PMC and PCMC to ferry those involved in ‘essential services’. With 80 buses becoming operational from Tuesday, the number of buses on road will go up to 230. “Apart from this, we are also providing about 200 to 250 buses to feed the Shramik Special trains that are being operated from Pune railway station as well as Uruli station for about two weeks now. That service will go on, it seems now, until the end of this month,” said Waghmare.