With government, private offices and other establishments reopening as part of ‘Unlock-1’, people in the city and districts faced problems in reaching their workplaces on Monday as a large number of private buses stayed off the roads.
Though government buses were out in full strength, lesser number of private buses on the roads had people waiting for long periods of time to get required transport to their offices.
“Around 25 to 30 per cent of the around 6,000 private buses that ply in the city and suburbs during normal times are back on the roads,” Joint Council of Bus Syndicates general secretary Tapan Banerjee said.
Banerjee said that private buses, both express and local, are also back on the roads in the districts, but in lesser number than normal.
He said that the number of private buses are likely to increase in the coming days.
Private bus operators have been demanding a fare hike in order to compensate for losses for carrying only seating capacity passengers as per a West Bengal government directive.
State Transport undertaking buses of WBTC, NBSTC and SBSTC are out in optimum number in the city and districts, but these did not prove to be enough with a large number of offices and establishments reopening on Monday.
With suburban trains and Metro Railway services not recommencing, the burden of public transportation was much more than usual on bus services.
Long queues were witnessed at different places in the city and suburbs with people waiting for a long time to board a bus.
The state government has allowed only seating capacity passengers in buses for maintaining social distancing norms.
Auto rickshaws, app cabs, and metered taxis were also on the roads in higher numbers than the previous days.
In order to avoid public transport woes, many people who have the means, pooled four-wheelers to reach their destination or rode two-wheelers to offices.
Some even cycled several kilometres to reach their workplaces in the scorching heat, only to avoid jostling in buses.
“I generally take the local train to office, but now I am cycling to my office at Esplanade from my residence at Sonarpur in South 24 Parganas, which is a distance of about 20 km,” said Ranjit Bakshi.