After the state government’s announcement of resuming inter-district private bus services from Monday, private bus operators are divided over recommencing services with a lesser number of passengers.
The Bus Minibus Samannoy Samity on Sunday said it would recommence services in some routes in Kolkata and several districts on an experimental basis. However, the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates said it would not be possible to run buses with only sitting capacity passengers on current fares.
In a meeting of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates on Sunday, it was decided that a memorandum will be submitted to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikary on Tuesday, seeking formation of a regulatory body for revising fares, said its general secretary Tapan Banerjee.
However, both organisations demanded that the state government must consider an increase in fares to keep the services going.
Members of Bus Minibus Samannoy Samity demanded that the government should provide infrastructure for sanitising the buses at its various facilities and also provide masks, gloves and hand sanitisers to the staff.
The West Bengal government, in an order issued on Saturday, allowed intra-state (inter-district) movement of government and private buses from June 1, with passengers not more than the actual seating capacity of the bus.
“No passenger shall be allowed to travel standing in the bus. All passengers shall wear face masks and gloves during the entire journey,” the order said.
West Bengal Transport Corporation is already running buses on 40 city routes, while South Bengal State Transport Corporation and North Bengal State Transport Corporation are rolling out buses in the southern and northern districts of the state respectively. All these state transport undertakings have already recommenced inter-district bus services from May 27.
Private bus operators, however, stayed away from resuming services as their demands for increasing fares were not met by the state government. The private bus operators had demanded a nearly three-time hike in fares.
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