Delhi public transport buckles under Covid-19 curbs

Covid curbs overwhelm Delhi's public transport: Citizens face hassle in buses, metros

Commuters vandalised six Delhi Transport Corporation buses in Badarpur and Sangam Vihar on Thursday enraged by long queues and delays

People try to board a DTC bus at Rail Bhawan bus stand in New Delhi. Credit: IANS Photo

Officials in Delhi sounded a Yellow alert in the national capital due to a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases, strengthening their arsenal in case of a new coronavirus wave, a move that ended up overwhelming the city's public transport system. 

Long queues and delays caused due to the city's Covid response action plan enraged travelers, some of whom resorted to violence. 

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) imposed a number of restrictions on Tuesday under the Yellow Alert of the Covid graded response action plan. Under the system, only 50 per cent sitting is permitted on both Metro and public buses and standing passengers are not permitted.

Commuters vandalised six Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses in Badarpur and Sangam Vihar on Thursday, enraged by long bus lines and the fact that they were not allowed to board due to Covid restrictions, police said. Six people were arrested.

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All of those detained, according to police, were factory workers. A few passengers were on board one of the buses, but they were swiftly evacuated and sent to safety. According to police, none of them were hurt.

In videos of the incident that have emerged on social media, it was seen that a green and a red air-conditioned bus have been damaged. Windshields and side mirrors were broken.

The conductor of a bus, in a video, said, "We have instructions to allow only 17 commuters at a time. When there are 20 people, including the driver, conductor and marshal, on the bus, we do not stop it. If we stop and more people enter the bus, we will be fined Rs 2,000."

The Capital's extensive metro network was also seen jam-packed, with many pictures of the same going viral.

Metro commuters in Delhi on Wednesday morning were in for a harrowing time with the queues outside stretching nearly 2 kilometres. The queues increased as the Metro is operating with 50 per cent capacity amid rising cases of Omicron.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Thursday announced to have reduced capacity down to 200 per train from the usual 2,400. An eight-coach Metro train can generally carry about 2,400 passengers, which comprises approximately 50 seating passengers and 250 standing passengers per coach.

With present restrictions of 50 per cent seating and no standing, each coach can now accommodate only about 25 passengers, the DMRC said in a release.

Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, the Leader of the Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, accused the AAP administration of failing to make sufficient commuting accommodations. "The question is, how will the general populace go to their workplace? People have grown powerless and are driven to protest in the streets," according to the LoP.

(With PTI inputs)

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