VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) will resume its intra-state operations with 1683 buses on 436 routes from Thursday with adequate safety measures. Buses will start plying across the state from 7 am onwards.
Passengers can reserve tickets from the Online Passenger Reservation System (OPRS) of the APSRTC from 4 pm on Wednesday.
Announcing the resumption of services, APSRTC Vice Chairman and Managing Director M Pratap on Wednesday said wearing of masks will be mandatory for all passengers boarding the buses. "In case, any passenger comes to the bus stand without carrying a mask, they can buy it from the stalls there. Masks will be made available for Rs 10," Pratap said.
Sanitisers will be made available at all bus stations for passengers before entering a bus. The seats have also been modified to ensure there is no physical contact between passengers.
Pratap also made a request to people above 65 and below 10 not to travel on non-emergency work. Apart from that, downloading of Arogya Setu mobile app has been made mandatory for passengers to travel in the buses.
The RTC, however, will not resume city bus services that it operates in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. "A decision on resuming city services will be taken after lockdown 4.0," Pratap said.
Initially, the RTC will run 1,683 buses on 436 select routes. "Of the 12,600-odd fleet, 1,683 buses will be run. It comes to around 17 percent of the fleet," Pratap said.
The RTC decided to run the buses without on-board conductors as they could turn into super-spreaders of COVID-19 since they come in contact with passengers and staff.
To discourage cash transactions, the OPRS is made available for all the bus services for booking tickets in advance. "No additional charges will be levied on availing OPRS and payments can be made through credit/debit and all UPI mobile applications," he said.
On the losses incurred by the APSRTC during the lockdown, Pratap put the estimated losses at Rs 12,000 crore in the last two months. "The corporation is not in a position to pay the power bills at 425 bus stations. For RTC, March, April and May are the crucial months for augmenting the revenue as several passengers head towards their home towns for summer vacations and to attend marriages. However, this time, with the lockdown impact, the RTC could not run servies in the crucial period," he said.
However, the RTC has no plans to enhance the passenger ticket fare.