Chandigarh: The Haryana Roadways on Friday resumed bus services on select routes, making Haryana the first state to get back to public transport within the state time since the lockdown was announced in March.
The buses, which are not allowed to carry more than 30 passengers to maintain social distancing, are plying since morning on select routes, officials said.
Initially, the buses will ply on 29 routes from ten depots of Ambala, Bhiwani, Hisar, Kaithal, Karnal, Narnaul, Panchkula, Rewari, Rohtak and Sirsa and run on select point-to-point routes.
There are 23 depots of the Roadways, which has a fleet of over 4,000 buses.
Online booking and wearing masks have been made a must for passengers boarding the Haryana Roadways buses.
Before the nationwide lockdown on March 24 midnight, the Haryana government had put the entire state in lockdown on March 23.
From the Panchkula depot, the first bus left for Sirsa in the morning.
A youth, who was travelling to Sirsa, said, “Resumption of bus service is a good step taken by the government. It is also a good thing that buses have not been allowed to run at full capacity and social distancing has been ensured,” said the passenger.
Thermal screening of passengers was done at bus terminals, their hands sanitised and it was ensured by the officials of the Haryana Roadways that passengers were wearing masks before boarding buses.
Bus terminals have been sanitised and only regular, non-air-conditioned buses were plying.
To ensure that social distancing norms are strictly followed, only 30 passengers will be allowed to board the 52-seater buses.
However, on the first day of resumption of services only 12-15 passengers were seen in some buses, officials said.
A government spokesman had said on Thursday that the buses will not operate in areas severely affected by COVID-19.
“The buses will ply from the Haryana State Transport bus stands to the scheduled bus stands. No passenger will be allowed to board or disembark the bus on the way,” he had said.
Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar had announced on Wednesday that public transport will resume operation in the state on an "experimental basis" from Friday, with a limited number of buses plying on select routes.
(With PTI inputs)