Social distancing to be practised in buses, ticket rates may go up

B Ajith Raj

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With the current ticket pricing, it will not even be enough for purchasing the fuel.

Thiruvananthapuram: Ticket prices in transport buses will have to be raised if the passengers maintain social distancing in KSRTC buses after the lockdown is lifted. The number of passengers will have to be halved if social distancing is to be maintained in the manner that the health department mandates.

Buses are allowed to let certain number of passengers stand and travel. This will not be allowed after the lifting of lockdown. Private bus owners say that their revenue will be reduced considerably if the number of passengers are reduced to half.

With the current ticket pricing, it will not be enough even to purchase fuel. The government will have to find a way to reduce the loss of the bus owners. Motor Vehicle Department has recommended implementation of flexi charge system, through which fares can be increased up to a certain percentage. However, both KSRTC and private bus owners claim that it will not be enough and that the charges will have to be doubled.

Since road tax is determined on the basis of the number of seats, private buses used to be registered citing reduced number of seats. In these buses, the total passengers will be reduced to less than 20 if social distancing is practiced. Unlike in KSRTC buses, three people cannot sit on a single seat in private buses. So even with social distancing, two people can sit on both ends of the seat.

The restrictions, after the lockdown is lifted, will be determined by the rate of transmission of the disease. There are also other suggestions being made regarding reducing the financial loss like providing diesel after reducing the tax for route buses.

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