Interstate bus services in Delhi have been allowed to resume in Delhi from Tuesday. The buses will resume at 50% capacity of pre-Covid times. The three interstate bus terminals (ISBTs) in Delhi were opened after seven months of being shut. The three terminals are Sarai Kale Khan, Kashmiri Gate and Anand Vihar ISBTs. The interstate bus services were allowed to resume amidst a sudden surge of Covid-19 cases in Delhi. The city has recorded 5000 cases everyday for the past few days.
According to the Hindustan Times, 145 buses carrying around 5,800 passengers arrived at Delhi from neighboring states. Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot has tweeted about the necessary precautions that are being taken. His tweet read, “As Delhi resumes Inter-state bus service on 03.11.20, from 3 ISBTs, we’re ensuring all precautions/SOP are in place. Sanitization of buses at origin & at ISBTs, thermal screening of passengers & crew, Passengers to mandatorily wear mask, testing camps in case of any illness.” The decision to open this service was taken on 23rd October by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA). The meeting was chaired by lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal.
Gahlot has reviewed the standard operating procedures before the resumption. The SOPs that are to be followed are:
- The interstate buses will be sanitised at their home depot as well as prior to the journey.
- Mandatory thermal screening of both passengers and the crew members has been stipulated.
- Passengers will have to wear face masks at all times. Additionally, there will be no standing passenger.
- Provisions for social distancing have been set. Consequently, this will be maintained through markers made on ground. Strict social distancing measures will have to be followed at the station, while boarding and during the course of the journey.
- A strict prohibition on the usage of gutka and other tobacco products has been enforced.
- There has been a regulation on the age of the buses entering the terminals due to the pollution situation in Delhi. Buses older than a 2015 model will not be allowed to operate. However, this regulation will be eased eventually.
The terminals have also set up testing camps for asymptomatic passengers who are recognized through the thermal screening.