Bus Operators In Odisha Plan To Suspend Services

Post the two-month-long lockdown, the Odisha government finally allowed bus services to resume a few weeks ago. However, due to the prevailing COVID-19 cases, commuters have been refraining from availing public transportation. As a result, the private bus operators are planning to discontinue services and put a stop to the losses incurred due to the low footfall of passengers.

On May 28, the buses resumed services after easing of restrictions by the government. Since reopening, the bus operators are failing to meet the fuel and salary charges of the staff let alone make profits. The operators claim that they are incurring daily losses between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 per day.

As per reports, approximately 14,000 private buses were functioning in interstate and intra-state routes before lockdown. Yet, only 450 to 500 buses have resumed operations in the state. Nearly 150 buses were running every day to other cities from the Baramunda bus terminal, but the number has now reduced to 15.

Bus owners have requested the government to waive off the road tax in the upcoming period as that will reduce some losses.

Debasish Nayak, the spokesperson of All Odisha Bus Owners’ Association said, “As we have resumed the services, we have to pay salaries to the staff. But in a situation where we are spending about Rs 14,000 on long routes but getting Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 as fares in return, how will we sustain. The government should take due note of the situation and take necessary steps. We will urge the State government to create awareness among people that travelling by buses is safe”.

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