Vijayawada: The city buses hit the roads in Vijayawada and Vizag city on Saturday for the first time since March 22. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is plying only 100 buses and Covid-19 protocols are strictly being enforced.

The buses have been operated on experimental basis in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and the number of city bus services will be gradually increased.

The officials said that the buses were operated in six routes in the first phase, on Saturday, and based on the response during the trial run, which will continue till September 26, a call will be taken on rationalising the services.

On the first day, there was a mixed response from the commuters as only one passenger was allowed in one seat in accordance with the Covid-19 norms.

Unlike pre-Corona crisis, standing and foot boarding in the buses was not allowed. Screening and sanitiser responsibilities were given to conductors or a staffer was posted at the bus stages.

As per the Covid rules, passengers waiting at every stop would be screened. Those with Covid-19 symptoms such as cold, cough, fever and others would not be in the buses.

The RTC temporarily suspended the concessions offered to senior citizens to discourage them from using public transport during the pandemic. Children were also not allowed to travel in city buses.

Senior IAS officer M.T. Krishna Babu, who heads the transport department, said running buses with less than 50 per cent occupancy would have serious financial implications on the revenue.

Krishna Babu said that Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments are yet to come to an understanding on running inter-state services.

A series of meetings between the APSRTC and TSRTC failed in making the authorities reach an agreement. There are differences between the two states on routes and kilometres to be shared.

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