The outrageous spread of the novel Coronavirus has resulted in over 14.1 million COVID-19 affected patients* worldwide, as on 18th July 2020. The numbers continue to increase in many countries.
To flatten the curve of the virus spread, several countries have imposed extreme measures like complete lockdown in the cities. Lockdown has put a halt on our day-to-day activities. There are some unrealistic changes that people are observing in their daily lives. Schools, colleges, offices, malls, theatres, bars, shops all are closed. Offices have been closed, and employees asked to work from home and remote; transportation has been poorly affected. As the Indian government has already declared a lockdown until the end of July 2020, many state governments mull over the decision of lockdown extension for people’s safety for an indefinite time period, if required.
While Indian Railways have stopped over thousands of train services, another transit operation in India is also affected. City buses, auto-rickshaws, taxis and cab aggregators have also been stopped. The empty train coaches are equipped to function as coronavirus quarantine wards and is planning to resume the functioning after lockdown is lifted.
Considering the high population density in India, the spread of the virus could become uncontrollable, adequate measures if not taken after the lockdown relaxation. Many of us, who are dependent on public transportation like metro, trains, and buses for commuting, have become a matter of concern. People are hesitant to take public transportation after lockdown is lifted.
Although the spread of the virus in India has been lower than China, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the outrageous pandemic situation has already burdened our existing healthcare systems. The major challenge that comes in the picture, post lockdown is people’s mobility in public transportation without compromising the safety of lives.
Public transportation in India plays a vital link in our lives. Without which the commutation is impossible for many of us.
With a greater sensitization to public health and hygiene, government and private stakeholders should ensure cleanliness and hygiene collaboratively, so that we may be able to use clean and safe public transport. It is unrealistic to expect each one of us to have access to their vehicle to commute. The possible option is to open lockdown partially and develop an alternative commuting system.
Since India’s major cities have emerged as hotspots for the pandemic, here are what public transport systems need to do to deal with the post-lockdown situation:
Delhi Metro: Delhi Metro services can increase its frequency of trains and might add few more coaches and allow six people per square meter adhering to social distancing norms.
Buses in Delhi: Many people will resume work after lockdown is lifted. Adhering to social distancing Delhi buses, the distance among the co-passengers can be reduced, and proper sanitization can be practiced judiciously.
Buses in Bangalore: On average the govt. Busses in Bangalore carries 833 passengers every day. The average density of passengers can be reduced, in adherence to maintaining social distancing as per the bus’s capacity for passenger’s safety.
Many questions come to mind when it comes to visualizing world post lockdown. The outrageous pandemic situation has made us cautious about how safe it is to travel in public transport. In India, the situation is immensely challenging. Cities like Mumbai has 24/7 local train commuters, who commute to work every day. Then over 70 million use public transport daily. How to manage a post-COVID world from a mobility point of view is indeed a sensitive topic. People are scared to take public transportation to commute and are thinking twice to resume work. Responding to the changing behavior of commuters and keeping the prevailing COVID situation crisis, adopting the sanitization and hygiene practices is necessary. It can be done from both ends, from transit agency and commuters personal hygiene practices. We at YoloBus, are adapting to the high sanitization practices in our busses proactively. With the Government announcement on COVID-19 situation, we have made no stone unturned to ensure safe bus travel to our passengers. Following are some of the measures we take in our buses before, after, and during the journey:
The present health emergency, due to Coronavirus, presents an important challenge in the transit industry as well. It gives us several opportunities too. Public transportation is given a chance to revive, repair, and reinvent the best practices to keep India moving efficiently and seamlessly post lockdown.
*As per data dated on 18th July 2020 on Google