Thermal screening will be conducted at ISBTs
NEW DELHI: All-night bus operations, fewer buses, staggered timings and thermal screenings. These are some of the changes passengers may witness at the three Inter-State Bus Terminals (ISBT) of Delhi which are likely to reopen soon. Online bookings will be encouraged.
Before the national lockdown was announced, the three ISBTs at Kashmere Gate, Anand Vihar and Sarai Kale Khan used to witness a total of three lakh passengers a day. Nearly 3,500 buses would arrive from neighbouring states. While the central government has allowed interstate bus transport from June 1 as part of Unlock 1.0, there is no clarity on when services to Delhi will start.
“Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) doesn’t run any interstate services, apart from limited bus services in the national capital region. The reason is that DTC’s entire fleet is CNG-run and the fuel is not easily available in other states,” said a Delhi government official.
“Buses from other states arrive at our ISBTs and without the concurrence of other states, these services won’t start. The final decision has to be taken at the highest level, but we are chalking out a strategy to prepare our ISBTs for the new normal,” the official explained.
“With the number of Covid-19 cases higher in Delhi compared with towns and cities in Haryana or Uttar Pradesh, it is likely these states will be cautious and send a limited number of buses initially,” he said.
“Though we are expecting a decision soon, it is difficult to say when exactly the ISBTs will reopen.”
The official said that the number of buses arriving in Delhi would be heavily curtailed to maintain social distancing. “We will definitely not allow too many buses at the same time. However, we can’t gauge how many people will turn up at ISBTs when services restart and that is why reducing the number of buses can’t be the only solution,” he added.
“That is why there are plans to stagger departure timings of buses and allow operations at night apart from leaving sufficient space between two parked buses. Thermal screening and sanitisation of passengers at entry points will be carried out and apart from face masks, Aarogya Setu application on mobile phones may also become mandatory.”
While earlier, passengers could just arrive at ISBTs and book a bus ticket from the booking counters of different state transport corporations, pre-booking seats online might be encouraged or even made mandatory now.