COVID-19: Public transport in UP takes a hit

Lucknow, March 19 (IANS) A UP Roadways bus from Gonda district arrives in Lucknow at the Kaiserbagh bus stand in the afternoon on Thursday and merely 24 passengers alight from it.

The bus, on normal days, is packed to capacity with people piling onto the roof too.

This is the coronavirus scare on public transport even when the government is taking all necessary steps to sanitise the buses.

UP Transport Minister Ashok Kataria, on Thursday, inspected the bus stations and expressed satisfaction over the cleanliness levels and sanitisation.

Ganga Ram Upadhyay, a retired government employee, who came from Gonda, said, “I travelled only because I wanted to cancel train tickets to Mumbai. Six persons from my family were scheduled to travel to Mumbai on March 27 for a family function but we have decided against going. I wore a mask while travelling on the bus from Gonda.”

At the Charbagh railway, the platform is unusually deserted and surprisingly clean. The hustle and bustle of vendors is missing and the lone bookseller is dozing off for an afternoon nap.

“There are no customers and even the passenger count has gone down. Trains have been cancelled and most of the ones that are coming, have very few passengers,” said Arpit, a salesman.

Public transport in the state capital is taking a massive hit due to the coronavirus scare. About 30 per cent of e-rickshaws have gone off the roads due to lack of commuters.

“Schools, colleges, temples, parks, cinema halls are closed and people are not moving out of their houses. We have gone off the roads and more autos and e-rickshaws may also follow suit in the coming days,” said Ram Pratap, an e-rickshaw driver.

Surprisingly, a majority of the offices in the private sector have not yet opted for the work-from-home concept.

The state government too has not taken the step though official sources said the Chief Minister would soon take a call on this issue.



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