Private bus operators resume services

‘As of now the vehicles will be operated with only 60% occupancy’

Private bus operators have decided to resume services across the State, and some buses started plying on both mofussil and city routes in Tiruchi on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the Federation of Bus Operators Associations of Tamil Nadu had said that the operators would not be able to resume services until buses were allowed to operate to full seating capacity.

Private buses remained off the roads even after the government allowed inter-district operations from September 7.

“We have decided to start operations gradually from Wednesday, and some of the buses have begun plying in Tiruchi and other places,” D.R. Dharmaraj, secretary of the federation, told The Hindu.

About 4,500 private buses, all stage carriers, have permits to operate on mofussil and city routes across the State, except in a few districts such as Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.

“Our buses have been off the roads for five-and-a-half months. The moratorium period (on repayment of loans) has come to an end and we will have to pay the EMIs from this month and we need revenue. The crew have also been without jobs,” he explained.

Mr. Dharmaraj said private buses would start hitting the roads upon obtaining a certification from the Regional Transport Offices for the “laid-up period” so that the validity of insurance of the vehicles could be extended for the duration when they were not in operation.

“The RTOs have begun certifying the stoppage forms we had filed with them for this purpose. Once the certificates are issued, the vehicles will be back on roads,” he added.

Mr. Dharmaraj said as of now, buses would be operated with 60% occupancy.

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