Pune: The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) started running its buses after two months in the rural areas from Friday. The bus service was previously suspended due to the lockdown. However, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad will have to wait for some more days, as no decision has been made to run buses in these cities.
For almost two months, public transport operations have suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a few buses were boarded for essential services. The state public transport body started running buses nearly a week ago to drop students stuck in the town. Later, Minister of State Transport Anil Parab announced that the bus will only run for migrant workers. They would be dropped on the Maharashtra border. The service proved very successful.
A few days ago, he announced that inter-state bus services would be resumed. But it was rolled back from other states on the grounds of objection in the green zone. In rural areas, however, the bus service received a green signal from Friday. Senior citizens and children who are not allowed to travel are subject to certain restrictions. However, the guidelines, including social distance, wearing a mask and the use of sanitizers, must be followed.
"The buses will carry only half of their capacity. Taking these precautions, the bus service started in the rural areas of Pune district on Friday. The bus service in Indapur, Baramati, Shirur, Rajgurunagar, Saswad and other rural depots has been started," said a senior officer of MSRTC Pune division.
"However, the buses are not running from depots of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad as both the cities are in the red zone. Even the buses running in rural areas are not permitted to ply in these cities," he said.