The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the activities of private tour operators in the state as many of them have suspended their services due to poor occupancy.
According to sources, almost 1,000 private buses run from Andhra Pradesh to neighboring states. Almost 20 operators drive with air conditioning systems without air conditioning, with sleeping cars and with half sleepers.
They have their offices in Hanumanpeta, the Police Control Room, Benz Circle, Lenin Center, Gandhi Nagar, KR Market, Bhavanipuram, Gollapudi, Ibrahimpatnam and other places in Vijayawada.
Many operators offer transit services via Vijayawada from Eluru, Guntur, Ongole, Nellore, Kakinada, Rajamahendravaram, Visakhapatnam, Amalapuram, Razole, Srikakulam and other districts.
“According to the instructions of the state government, we operate buses with a load factor of 50%. People avoid traveling on buses fearing infection and the drop in occupancy is forcing us to cancel the services, ”says a private tour operator.
Private tour operators also run buses to Hyderabad, Benagaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and other cities in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Odisha and other states.
“The second wave of the pandemic hit the transport sector hard. During the first wave last year, we canceled buses due to closure. Because of the low occupancy rate, the private bus companies were bleeding, ”says a manager of a travel company.
Not only private operators, but also the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has discontinued many services due to low utilization. “We have discontinued many connections to Hyderabad, Khammam, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tirupati, Nellore, Bhadrachalam and other places,” says a traffic manager for the company.
“The load factor has dropped below 40% on some routes. The APSRTC is taking all measures to control the spread of the virus and provide better health facilities to employees who are contracting COVID, ”said RP Thakur, Vice Chairman and General Manager of the APSRTC.
In the meantime, the South Central Railway (SCR) has temporarily canceled 35 trains in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana due to insufficient utilization.