The night curfew and interstate transportation restrictions imposed in neighboring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as a result of the surge in coronavirus cases are affecting the operation of Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) buses in the Chittoor district.
Officials said the number of services was drastically reduced after the drop in demand and that the services were making enough trips on all rural routes to avoid congestion.
APSRTC Regional Manager (Chittoor) T. Changal Reddy said The Hindu that all bus routes linked to Karnataka followed the 50% occupancy norm exactly in accordance with the restrictions imposed in that state. Similarly, services for Tamil Nadu were suspended on Sundays as the lockdown was enforced in that state.
“Our field workers have been instructed to enforce the mask rule on buses and encourage passengers to follow social distancing. Even if seating capacity has not yet been restricted, the drop in load factor helps maintain social distancing, ”Reddy said.
The official said the average daily passenger number had dropped below 12,000 compared to the 1-lakh commuters who ran between Tirupati and Tirumala in the pre-CVOVID period. The number of passengers has decreased due to the cancellation of the Sarva Darshan token issuance at Tirumala Temple.
“We found that many supporters now prefer to travel by cars and two-wheelers rather than public transport because of the fear of contracting the infection,” said Changal Reddy.
Deputy Traffic Manager (Chittoor) M. Bhaskar said the utilization of RTC buses, which run on major routes between Chittoor District and Bengaluru, has fallen below 40%.
While the number of devotees visiting Tirumala, Srikalahasti, and Kanipakam temples in Chittoor District is sharply declining, RTC officials are tailoring services to demand without allowing the congestion to wander.