The Coimbatore Division of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) on Monday operated 534 buses in Coimbatore district, following relaxations in COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Officials said that 337 town buses and 197 mofussil buses were operated out of its total fleet of 1,012 buses. Mofussil buses were operated to districts such as Salem, Erode, Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tiruchi, Kumbakonam and Thanjavur, officials said. With the occupancy being capped at 50% for all buses to allow personal distancing, the demand for mofussil buses was not high on Monday.
In the case of town buses, however, personal distancing norms went for a toss in a few buses. Officials claimed that all the town buses were instructed to allow only 20 sitting passengers and 20 standees and that some buses might have allowed the standees to sit. These routes would be monitored and additional buses would be operated as per the requirement from Tuesday, they said.
Many private bus operators chose not to operate their buses from Monday despite relaxations in lockdown. V. Duraikannan, president of Coimbatore District Bus Owners Association (South), said that only around 10 town and mofussil buses were operated in the district on Monday as most of private bus operators have submitted stoppage forms at the respective Regional Transport Offices during the lockdown period, which are yet to be revoked. The operators might not operate their buses with the 50% occupancy rule as it would not be financially viable amid the hike in fuel prices, he said.
Echoing similar sentiments, R. Baskaran, president of Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Owners Association (Coimbatore), said the buses would likely resume operations only if the State government allows 100% passenger occupancy.
In Tiruppur district, TNSTC officials said that around 333 buses, comprising 166 town buses and 167 mofussil buses, were operated on Monday .
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