More passengers can now travel in buses adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

Close up shot of a Kerala RTC bus
news Transport Friday, December 18, 2020 - 18:22

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (RTC) has issued an order allowing commuters to stand and travel in its buses in limited numbers. The move is to enable the bus services to cater to more commuters who are missing buses due to COVID-19 protocols that mandate reduced seating compared to the actual capacity to maintain physical distancing.

Now, passengers who earlier had to alight buses due to non-availability of seats can now stand and travel to their stops, which was earlier banned. The Kerala RTC order states that if “all the buses in a route have plied and there are passengers remaining in the night, who have to use the bus route and do not have other options, then they can stand and travel on the last bus.”

The order also says that Kerala RTC has been receiving complaints from passengers, who have boarded buses in the day time and have had to alight immediately as there are no seats. To resolve such issues, the Kerala RTC has decided to allow 10-15 passengers to stand and commute within each bus during the day time. Passengers should only opt for standing and travelling in case of an emergency and even then, adhere to all COVID-19 protocols.

Based on the response after this relaxation comes into place, the Kerala RTC will take a call to operate more buses on the most popular routes.

After the buses began operating again in Kerala, the Road Transport Corporation had disallowed standing and travelling within buses. Passengers could only travel if the buses had seats available. The move was made as a measure to counter the spread of COVID-19 in the state. 

In November 2020, the Kerala RTC reduced bus fare for its ‘super class’ services that ply within the state, for three days a week. As per the decision, a 25% reduction in the fare will be in effect for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The Kerala RTC had hiked the charges in the early stages of the pandemic. However, the fare will now go back to what it was before March, for three days a week, with the new rule.

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