As a part of the relaxations granted in the third phase of the lockdown, Uttarakhand Government recently allowed the operation of public transport vehicles in the State with certain restrictions. Currently, the operators of such vehicles are allowed to carry a limited number of passengers. According to Covid-19 guidelines, the operators will have to follow fundamental rules like maintaining social distancing and regular sanitisation of the vehicles. While some public transport vehicles like e-rickshaws and auto-rickshaws can be seen operating, operators of other public transport vehicles like Vikram and city buses are still reluctant to resume their services.
According to the operators of Vikrams and city buses, the income from limited number of passengers will be spent on maintaining the vehicles and not be enough to sustain their families. "The state administration has allowed us to carry only three passengers in Vikrams. From three passengers we won’t be able to recover the fuel money for one way trip. We have sent a proposal to government seeking permission to allow five passengers instead of three. A Vikram is big enough to accommodate five passengers while maintaining social distance among them," said a member of Dehradun Vikram Union Kuldeep Chaudhary.
The president of Dehradun Mahanagar City Bus Seva Sangh, Vijay Vardhan Dandriyal said that the number of passengers are to remain about half in the city buses as per the orders of administration to maintain social distancing. However, the limited number of passengers will not generate enough income for bus operators, said Dandriyal. "We have sent a proposal to the government in which we have asked the government to take all the city buses under its supervision. If government thinks it is possible to run buses under current protocols, it can sign an agreement with bus operators. We have suggested that the government can offer an appropriate amount to bus operators so that we can pay the drivers and other staff," added Dandriyal. According to both Vikram and city bus unions, operating public transport vehicles under current restrictions will cause them more loss than profit. Therefore, unless the government offers a relief package to the workers or a suitable working order, they will not commence the operation of their vehicles in the city.