Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: With further relaxations in COVID19 restrictions under unlock 4 guidelines, Odisha Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera is hopeful that bus services will return to normalcy soon.

“A fewer buses are now running now due to low number of passengers. Though we had resumed the government bus services, we had to suspend it due to low passengers. When footfall of passengers rises, more owners will come forward to run their buses," said Behera.

"Despite resumption of services, bus owners were reluctant to run apprehending losses due to lack of passengers. Now I am hopeful that with the relaxations, people will come out of their houses and use the public transport. It will prompt transporters to full fledgedly resume their services, “Behera added.

The minister said the bus operators have been asked to strictly follow all the guidelines in force in view of Covid-19 pandemic. “Proper sanitisation of the buses will be carried out, passengers as well as bus staff will wear masks and passengers beyond sitting capacity will not be allowed,” he said.

Asked about demands of bus operators, the minister said relaxation in taxes till September and other demands of the bus owners have been fulfilled. Despite that, they forced to suspend service due to low footfall.

The Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT), running the city bus services in the State, has decided to run the buses on all the seven days in a week. Earlier, the bus service was available five days in a week due to lockdown and shutdown restrictions.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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