Inter-district bus services in Andhra Pradesh will resume from Thursday, with 1,683 buses plying along 436 routes. Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) Managing Director Madireddy Pratap on Wednesday told the media that the services will gradually be increased, asking people to only use the bus transport services when absolutely necessary.
In order to ensure physical distance during travel, Pratap said that the deluxe buses have been modified to reduce the number of seats and space them out. In Express and Palle Velugu buses, some seats which people are not allowed to occupy will be marked in red.
Buses will mostly run without conductors on board.
All passengers and staff members will be required to wear face masks. âIn case anyone forgets to bring a mask, the owners of stalls in bus stands have been informed to sell masks at a maximum price of Rs 10,â Pratap said. He added that contactless sanitiser dispensers will also be installed at bus stands which can be used before people board the bus.
He said that APSRTC is working to ensure cashless transactions and paperless tickets, while noting that not all passengers may be able to use ticket booking apps or online payment methods. The present reservation system used by APSRTC has been tweaked to add âcurrent bookingâ of tickets on the day of travel, with the reservation fee waived, to encourage contactless ticket sales.
The Aarogya Setu app will be made compulsory for APSRTC staff, while passengers will be encouraged to install them. It will be mandatory to link a ticket sale to the passengerâs phone number. If any passenger is later found to have tested positive for the coronavirus, their co-travellers will be informed on this number so that they can take precautionary measures and get tested, Pratap said.
People over 65 years and under 10 years of age will be discouraged from travelling unless in case of an emergency.
City bus services in Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada will continue to remain suspended until May 31. The Chief Secretary is in talks with officials of neighbouring states of Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to resume interstate bus services, Pratap said.
Night bus services will also be resumed from Thursday. As night curfew will continue to be in place from 7 pm to 5 am, passengers are advised to reach the bus stand early before the curfew sets in. âIn the morning, if they reach early, they can either wait at the bus stand, or an exception can be made for them as there will not be many people out at that time,â Pratap said.
The number of buses may be slowly increased based on peoplesâ requirement, he added.