Mumbai

Stranded people can travel on ST buses free of cost in Maharashtra

In anticipation: Migrant workers stand in a queue outside CSMT to board the Shramik Special train on Saturday.

In anticipation: Migrant workers stand in a queue outside CSMT to board the Shramik Special train on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The State government on Saturday announced that it will not charge any passengers or students, who are stuck in various parts of the State and wish to go back home by bus. The services will start from Monday and continue till the end of the lockdown on May 18. The government has released detailed guidelines as to how passengers can book a seat on a bus back home.

Only one person will be permitted for every two seats, to ensure physical distancing and everyone will have to wear masks throughout the journey. State Transport Minister Anil Parab said the buses will run non-stop and only halt at ST depots for toilet breaks, and will not even halt for food. “People travelling a long distance must make their own arrangements for food as the bus will not stop anywhere for this purpose,” he said.

People from the same district can form groups of 22 and a common application via an appointed group leader with the local police in case of urban areas or with the local tehsildar in rural areas. “The application will be sent to the nodal officer of the district they want to go to for approval. Once the nodal officer gives permission, the group will be told the details of their bus,” Mr. Parab said.

For individual travellers, the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has set up a portal, where a person can fill in an application. The portal will go live on Monday. A set of applications from a common boarding and destination point will be combined together in groups of 20 or 21 and a bus will be organised for each group.

Mr. Parab said the nodal officers of the districts where buses arrive will decide whether to quarantine the passengers or if any medical examination needs to be conducted for them.

The MSRTC has created a detailed set of procedures that their staff must follow while providing the service. The depot managers have been asked to stay in touch with members of the State administration and police and inform them if there’s any inbound bus. For each bus, there will be a list of passengers that are on it, one copy of which will be at the home depot, one with the driver and one will be given to the destination depot manager on arrival.

“Before and after each journey, the buses will be sanitised. Each passenger will be asked to sanitise their hands before the journey commences,” Mr. Parab said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 5:31:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/stranded-people-can-travel-on-st-buses-free-of-cost-in-maharashtra/article31547701.ece

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