Visakhapatnam

Social distancing norms given the go-by in buses and trains

Passengers stand in a queue to enter Visakhapatnam railway station on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

Social distancing has gone for a toss in several RTC buses and trains as people return to Visakhapatnam after Dasara. Many passengers reveal that their return journey to the city after the festival was a nightmare as passengers have even ignored the mandatory rule of wearing masks.

While many bus conductors followed COVID-19 safety protocols by making sure the vehicle is not overcrowded, several inter-district buses plying in Visakhapatnam region were seen jam-packed. There were heated arguments between passengers in a few buses over occupying seats and not wearing masks.

“When I boarded the bus at Palasa RTC complex, the conductor made sure that passengers without reservation do not board the bus. However, when the bus crossed Srikakulam, the vehicle was overcrowded and the conductor was helpless. Passengers were moving without masks. When some people made sure that the middle seat is vacant to ensure social distancing, other passengers entered into heated arguments to allow them to sit,” said G. Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Palasa, who boarded a bus from Palasa to Visakhapatnam.

Several Pallevelugu and city buses in Visakhapatnam, Anakapalle, Chodavaram, Sabbavaram, Vizianagaram, Simhachalam and a few others totally ignored the safety protocol by allowing a huge number of passengers. “We cannot ask people to just leave when they try to board a bus with children and elderly persons. However we insist them to wear masks for sure. No matter how much you try, buses plying in some routes between Visakhapatnam and Ichchapuram, are always overcrowded, which we cannot avoid,” said a bus conductor from Visakhapatnam.

According to a few passengers, unlike last year, passengers with reservations were allowed to board trains as part of COVID-19 safety protocol. This reportedly led to overcrowding in RTC buses. Routes from Visakhapatnam to Srikakulam and East Godavari districts witnessed heavy rush since last week.

Meanwhile, some train commuters complained that some people are not wearing masks. There should be inspections and fines must be collected, said P. Sai Shyam. a commuter.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 8:05:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/social-distancing-norms-given-the-go-by-in-buses-and-trains/article32958535.ece

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