With Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, on Tuesday, ruling out extension of the week-long shutdown in Bengaluru, the state-owned bus corporations said they will operate buses from Wednesday with precautions.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation(KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) announced they will operate the buses but in limited numbers with caution and restrictions.
The KSRTC runs inter-district and inter-state buses, whereas the BMTC operates its buses in the Bengaluru municipal area, Bengaluru urban district and Bengaluru rural district.
After the lockdown was imposed from July 14 to 22 morning, to check the spread of the Coronavirus, the two transport corporations had stopped their operations in Bengaluru.
The BMTC said that it has decided to run only 1,500 buses initially only on major traffic routes barring containment zones.
"Initially the BMTC will operate 1,500 services in Bengaluru city on major traffic routes, excluding containment zones. Services will be increased based on passenger traffic," the BMTC said in a press release.
The transport corporation said its services will be operated between 6 am to 8 pm everyday as opposed to 5 am to 11 pm earlier.
As part of its standard operating procedures, the transport corporations said the crew will wear face masks while on duty, use hand sanitisers and maintain hygiene.
Buses will be stopped at the designated bus stops for boarding and deboarding.
They said that face masks and social distancing will be mandatory for the passengers too.
If all the seats are occupied, passengers should not board the bus and wait for the next one to come, they added. No more than 30 passengers will be allowed inside the bus at one time.
While BTMC provided protective gear like masks and gloves for its own staff, it was made compulsory for commuters to wear masks. To minimise contact between staff and commuters, a QR code-based fare collection system and flat fare has been put in place as well.
"KSRTC will start operations from tomorrow. Initially we will operate only 2,000 or 2,500 buses," a senior officer in the transport department told PTI.
He added that the KSRTC and the BMTC put together might have incurred a revenue loss of about Rs 3,000 crore.
The officer said the KSRTC had reduced its operations, especially the inter-state air-conditioned buses to Kerala and other neighbouring states and fully stopped its operation from March 24 to May 18.
Since the lockdown was first announced in mid-March, BMTC had been running skeletal services only for essential workers. However, with the lockdowns regulations lifted in the subsequent days, BMTC resumed operations from May 19.