Coronavirus Pandemic: Now you can't stand and travel in MSRTC or BEST buses
To avoid crowding amid the coronavirus outbreak, the two state-run public transport bodies - The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), on Wednesday announced that they will not allow passengers to travel while standing in their buses from March 19, Thursday.
The move by BEST and MSRTC might cause inconvenience to passengers but is expected to enforce social distancing in their buses as part of measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
With the number of people testing increasing to 45 in the state, several others admitted at isolation facilities, the state government decided to stop standing journey on buses operated by BEST and MSRTC. The decision was made at a meeting headed by CM Uddhav Thackeray.
In the meantime, a BEST official stated that they will run extra services on busier routes to ensure the passengers don't face any inconvenience. With a daily ridership of 35 lakh commuters, BEST is the second-biggest mode of public transport in Mumbai followed by suburban locals.
"Mumbaikars are requested not to travel standing in the BEST buses from tomorrow (March 19) onwards as a preventive measure against the prevailing #COVID19 situation in the city. #bestupdates #Mumbai," tweeted BEST.
MSRTC, on the other hand, is a means of transport for 65 lakh passengers across the state. The state transport body decided to change seating arrangements besides stopping passengers from travelling standing in its buses.
According to an MSRTC release, they are going to allow passengers to sit on an alternate seat and a single passenger restricted to per seat to maintain distance between the passengers.
"Only 50 per cent passengers of a bus's total capacity will be allowed to board before the departure and nobody will be allowed to travel standing in the bus," said the MSRTC release.
Central Railway has also taken up the task to spread awareness amongst the citizens of Mumbai. The rail corporation has vinyl wrapped a local train with awareness messages.