Andhra Pradesh

Footfalls on the rise

The number of people travelling from Visakhapatnam to various destinations is fast picking up after the restoration of train services, removal of restrictions on movement of RTC and private buses and flights following a drop in COVID-19 cases.

Tourist places have also opened up recently and are already attracting people in droves, despite the threat of a third wave. Travel lovers, who have been confined to their homes for a greater part of the year, are eager to chill out on the beaches and destinations like Araku.

Unlike after COVID-19 first wave when people preferred to travel by own cars, patronage of public transport has increased now as public confidence grew seemingly due to increased vaccination and relaxation of quarantine rules at airports and railway stations. Air Asia has recently launched two new flights, one each to Hyderabad and Chennai from Visakhapatnam.

“Most trains between Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad are running to more than 90% capacity and passengers mostly are complying with the COVID-19 protocols. Wait-listed passengers are not being allowed into reserved coaches even during the day and hence there is no overcrowding,” says A. Sannibabu of Visakhapatnam, who travels frequently to Hyderabad.

“RPF personnel are moving from coach to coach and ensuring compliance of protocols. Sometimes RAC passengers are being given seats in reserved coaches, which should be avoided in this pandemic situation,” he says.

“RTC and private travel buses are also getting good patronage. Though RTC has not revised the fares, private operators are charging about 20% more than the normal charges, taking advantage of the situation,” he remarks.

“We are operating all buses, except hired ones, and the average occupancy ranges between 50 and 55%. Our drivers and conductors are observing all protocols and insisting on compliance by passengers. We are sanitising the buses frequently,” says K. Venkata Rao, Deputy Chief Traffic Manager (Rural) of APSRTC.

Flights restored

“Within three weeks of the decline in cases, many flights have been restored from Visakhapatnam to different destinations. Of the 16 flights operating between Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad prior to the pandemic, 12 have been restored and they are reporting over 60% occupancy. The flights on the Visakhapatnam-Delhi sector are getting over 70% occupancy and flights to Chennai and Bengaluru are recording 60%,” says P. Muralikrishna, MD of a tour and travel firm from the city.

“The hosting of events and meetings has resulted in an increase in the occupancy of hotels. The lifting of restrictions on inter-State travel has also improved our travel business and now we are in a position to pay salaries to our staff,” he adds.


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:42:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/footfalls-on-the-rise/article35548951.ece

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