Low occupancy forces private bus operators to slam the brakes

APSRTC reduces frequency of services on many routes as COVID wreaks havoc

The second wave of coronavirus pandemic has hit the operations of private travel operators in the State as many of them have cancelled services due to poor occupancy.

According to sources, nearly 1,000 private buses are plying from Andhra Pradesh to the neighbouring States. Nearly 20 operators are running non-AC, air-conditioned, sleeper and semi-sleeper buses.

They have their offices at Hanumanpeta, Police Control Room, Benz Circle, Lenin Centre, Gandhi Nagar, K.R. Market, Bhavanipuram, Gollapudi, Ibrahimpatnam and other places in Vijayawada.

Many operators are running transit services via Vijayawada from Eluru, Guntur, Ongole, Nellore, Kakinada, Rajamahendravaram, Visakhapatnam, Amalapuram, Razole, Srikakulam and other districts.

“Following the directions of the State government, we are operating buses with 50% occupancy. People are avoiding travelling in buses owing to the fear of contracting infection and the slump in occupancy is forcing us to cancel the services,” says a private travel operator.

Private travel operators are also running buses to Hyderabad, Benagaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and other cities in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and other States.

“The second wave of the pandemic has hit the transport sector hard. During the first wave last year, we had cancelled buses owing to lockdown. Now, the low occupancy left the private bus operators bleeding,” says a manager of a travels company.

Not only private operators, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has cancelled many services due to low occupancy. “We have cancelled many services to Hyderabad, Khammam, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tirupati, Nellore, Bhadrachalam and other places,” says a traffic manager of the corporation.

“Occupancy ratio has come down to below 40% on some routes. The APSRTC is taking all measures to check the spread of the virus and provide better healthcare facilities to the employees who are undergoing treatment for COVID infection,” says APSRTC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director R.P. Thakur.

Trains cancelled

Meanwhile, the South Central Railway (SCR) has temporarily cancelled 35 trains in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, citing poor occupancy.

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