MST bus service resumption evokes mixed response

IMPHAL, 1st Jul: The inter-state bus services of Manipur State Transport (MST) resumed from Wednesday after a 3-month lockdown over COVID-19.
However, the endeavour to resume the MST service bore no fruit for Noney district as no passenger showed up at the Wahengbam Leikai parking here.
Several MST buses rolled up at the Wahengbam Leikai Parking to begin the inter-state bus services but absence of passenger forced cancellation of the Imphal-Noney and Imphal-Nungba bus services.
Meanwhile, according to MST in-charge, no alternative arrangement has been made to replace the bus services along Tamenglong Khongsang and IT roads, which are in dilapidated conditions. Nonetheless, he appealed to the people to adhere to the SOP and other COVID-19 guidelines while availing the MST bus service.
Though the state government has allowed movement of inter-district public transport with effect from Wednesday, the first day was marked by cessation of the service few hours after the buses waited for arrival of passengers to board the Imphal-Noney-Nungba vehicles.
Left with no choice, MST drivers had to return to their office complex at Moirangkhom.
On the other hand, despite the low number of passengers, Imphal-Churachandpur buses resumed services from Churachandpur bus parking at Keishampat. However, it is yet to be seen how strict social distancing norms will be maintained or whether the buses will operate at 50 per cent passenger capacity as per government guidelines.
Although MST buses have resumed services, many private bus operators have expressed their dissatisfaction over the government’s specifications. Nonetheless, it is believed that the resumption of services will alleviate some of inter-district travel issues faced by the people due to the prolonged lockdown. Meanwhile, Transporters and Drivers' Council (TDC) has welcomed the resumption of inter-district bus services.
Informing that bus services from Imphal to Churachandpur and Mayai Lambi resumed on Thursday, TDC president Hijam Ranjit said that services will soon be resumed along other routes as well. However, the government's directive to transport passengers at 50 per cent capacity for maintenance of social distancing amid the rising price of fuel has caused huge insolvencies to bus owners and transporters.
He then appealed to the public to understand and extend their support to bus drivers and handymen who have resumed their work amid the outbreak in the interest of the people.
Ranjit then informed that several buses left for Jiribam on Thursday to pick up the natives arriving at Jiribam Railway station via train on July 3, adding that they will continue to pick up the passengers in Jiribam for as long as the government requests.
Lauding PWD the ongoing repair works being taken up at ISBT Complex, Chingmeirong; the TDC president said that a team of TDC led by its general secretary is helping the department, while adding that a crane and JCB is being kept at the complex to help tow goods-trucks stuck or sunken to the ground.

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