Government-run bus services between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh could begin from next week as officials of both state governments held a meeting on Thursday.
The bus services have been suspended since the nationwide lockdown in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. While Telangana has resumed bus services within the state, it is yet to issue orders allowing inter-state movement of vehicles.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) Executive Director (Operations) Brahmananda Reddy said that the meeting discussed how bus services can be resumed.
According to reports, Brahmananda Reddy said that the APSRTC will ply 256 buses to Telangana in the first of four phases of resuming services gradually. He also said that COVID-19 guidelines will be strictly followed.
A formal agreement with further details is expected to be announced soon.
While the Andhra Pradesh government has opened its borders to RTC buses from Karnataka and begun operating its fleet with destinations in Karnataka, it was yet to get the nod from the Tamil Nadu and Telangana governments to begin operations.
Now with the Telangana government giving its nod, people will be able to travel to the state and especially Hyderabad, from Andhra Pradesh.
In Telangana, RTC buses had returned on the roads on May 19 after nearly two months. However, the state government is yet to resume bus services within Hyderabad city. Buses are only allowed to drop passengers at Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) or Jubilee Bus Station (JBS) and cannot make stops within Hyderabad.
The APSRTC has also taken several precautions against COVID-19. Passengers are advised to buy their tickets online or at booking counters at the bus stations and only those wearing masks are allowed to board the buses.
Names and phone numbers of those buying tickets at the counters are being collected and passengers are provided with hand sanitisers before boarding the bus.
All shops at bus stands have been asked to sell masks at Rs 10 per piece. The APSRTC is also ensuring implementation of physical distancing norms in buses and at the bus stations by rearranging the seating.