As regards the restriction on carrying passengers in the city’s public transport in an environment of surging coronavirus infections, we are in a real catch-22 situation. The pandemic situation demands fixing of seat-passenger ratio in public buses but it leads to boundless sufferings of a large segment of commuters.
After a relative lull in the spread of the deadly virus at the fag end of the winter in the country, the corona pandemic situation has started turning for the worse. Larger numbers of people are getting infected with the killer bug with every passing day. Death rates from Covid-19 also display an alarming trend.The prevailing corona situation prompted the government to take some restrictive measures to keep control over the spread of Covid-19. As part of the initiative, passenger buses have been directed to carry passengers half of their seat capacity, of course with 60 per cent rise in passenger fare. However, this necessary measure led to the mounting woes of the commuters as they find it extremely difficult to get into buses and reach work stations on time.
In their frantic efforts for a seat, passengers throng bus stations in droves and jostle for boarding buses, completely forgetting the necessity of maintaining social distancing. Such a turn of the situation frustrated the very objective for which restrictions were imposed.
With the likely development clear in view, the government advised to run public and private offices other than emergency services with half of the manpower. But it is yet to be seen how far this directive is carried out and what are its effects. Public sufferings could have been mitigated to a certain extent had there been sufficient number of buses or alternative arrangements of transport in city streets. But this is not an easy task as it involves huge money and time. Unified office timing is another reason why office goers have to come down to the streets all at a time. As an additional arrangement, shifting duty can be introduced in offices, at least for a certain period of time and on an ad hoc basis. Anyhow, experts need to put heads together to find ways and means of bringing an end to the present transport crisis.