The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the operations of private tour operators in the state, as many have canceled services due to low occupancy.
According to sources, nearly 1,000 private buses connect Andhra Pradesh to neighboring states. Almost 20 operators operate non-air-conditioned, air-conditioned, sleeper and semi-sleeper buses.
They have their offices in Hanumanpeta, 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.
“Following the instructions of the state government, we operate buses at 50% occupancy. People avoid traveling by bus for fear of contracting an infection and the drop in occupancy is forcing us to cancel services, ”says a private tour operator.
Private tour operators also offer 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 has hit the transport sector hard. In the first wave of last year, we canceled buses due to the lockdown. Now the low occupancy rate has left private bus operators bled, ”says a director of a travel company.
Not only private operators, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has canceled many services due to low occupancy. “We have canceled many services to Hyderabad, Khammam, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tirupati, Nellore, Bhadrachalam and other places,” says a traffic official for the company.
“The occupancy rate has fallen to less than 40% on some routes. The APSRTC is taking all necessary measures to control the spread of the virus and provide better healthcare facilities for employees undergoing treatment for COVID infection, ”said RP Thakur, vice president and general manager of the APSRTC.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railway (SCR) has temporarily canceled 35 trains in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, citing poor occupancy rates.