India is the second most populated country in the world with almost 1.4 billion people. Out of them, 18.1% of the citizens choose a public mode of transport for their work trips. India accommodates approximately 7 crore passengers in its Public transport. Among these people, the major number comprise work-going people who cannot avoid going out and their ultimate option for travelling is public transport. The primary question arising here “Is public transport safe?” Not only that but also is the use of public transport during lockdown safe when COVID-19 cases are increasing day by day.
After the termination of Lockdown 4.0, India witnessed modifications and saw many previous curbs being lifted. The lockdown was initially implemented to decelerate the spike of COVID-19 cases in the country but the epidemic did not pause its spread. It is difficult to sustain this lockdown any further as it has also disturbed the livelihood of many people, put the food supply chains into risk and strangled various businesses.
What do we have to keep in mind while using public transport after lockdown and how to travel safely? Well, experts say to avoid MEN which does not actually mean men but where it extends to Mouth, Ear and Nose. In addition to that, we have to make sure that our hands are kept clean. While using public transport during lockdown, we are going to come face-to-face with the public and there will be co-passengers travelling along with us. So, we have to be prepared to face the consequences.
As days passed by, we slowly started realizing that it is the mortality rate that we have to control rather than the spread of the epidemic. People slowly started to adapt their new normal after the ease of restrictions. Public transport after lockdown is not advised but following all the precautions can certainly save us from the deadly virus and ensure safe commuting. In order to answer the public’s question ‘Is public transport safe?’, The Government began all kind of precautionary measures in public transport vehicles.
- Limited the number of commuters travelling at the same time to reduce the crowd.
- Arranged seats with sufficient gap to promote social distancing.
- Reduced both demand and supply at a time and stumbling office timings.
- Thermal checks and scanning are made compulsory and sick people are not permitted inside the premises of the stations.
To walk hand-in-hand with the government, we should also support them and follow rules and regulations and take certain precautions. The necessary precautions to be taken while travelling in the different modes of transport are as follows.
Both the central and state governments’ prominent objective is to restart the economic activities along with ensuring proper hygienic facilities. Except for migrants, students and employees who are residing in other states for time-being, most people prefer to travel within the state or district rather than inter-state. To meet loved ones or to travel to work, people are opting buses as their mode of transport. So it is always good to take certain precautions while travelling by bus.
- Use mobile applications and websites to pre-book tickets online.
- Reach the bus stop or bus station on time or before time to avoid being stuck in the crowd.
- While getting into and getting out of the bus, there are chances one might come in contact with handles, bars, windows and doors which are commonly touched surfaces. So, always carry a sanitizer along with you.
- Sanitize your seat completely before using it or carry disposable gloves to protect your bare hands and disposable sheets to cover your seat.
- Wear a mask and try not to over-interact with other co-passengers. Being ‘Socially active’ might be etiquette once but considering present times, being ‘socially distant’ is a necessity.
Metros and trains
In a few busy cities like Delhi, Bengaluru, etc. Metro started resuming its services to save people from searching for other means of transport. No matter how much people reduce the usage of metros, we continue to discover metro stations fully occupied and crowded. The metro stations are huge, unlike bus stops. There is a huge risk of getting exposed to many contaminated surfaces.
- An extra protective layer is required in an extra-risky space. So, wear a face protector shield along with the mask.
- Travel in metros and trains unless very necessary.
When it comes to air travel, we have to think once or twice because aviation industry played a major role in passing the disease from one country to another but they are not to be solely blamed because the disease spreads rapidly among crowded people. So, how to travel safely on flights?
- Airline services will provide us with a PPE kit but it is better to bring along a backup set.
- All modes of public transport promise a fully sanitized and worry-less journey but being extra careful won’t harm anyone. So, clean your seat, tray table, seat-back pocket, armrest, seat touch screen, headrest and window blind with sanitizer or anti-bacterial wipes.
Taxis and cabs
- Confirm whether the cab driver is asymptotic or not before travelling.
- Communicate with the driver by wearing a mask and make sure that the driver is also wearing a mask.
- Insist on switching off the air conditioner because the air re-circulates within the cabin.
- Ensure that there is a transparent partition between you and the driver.
- Paying online for the rides is the best option.
Everyone is educated with all the precautions and public transport is made safer. However, there is always a chance for error and risk. Unfortunately, not everyone owns personal vehicles but we can travel on bikes and scooters without actually buying them. Bike rentals like Bounce are renting out two-wheelers with smart and short-term rental plans.
What are the benefits of these bike and scooter rentals?
- Your ride is 100% safe as there are no chances of sharing your ride with others.
- Probability of Transmission of the virus is very less because it is an open mode of transport.
- The cost of rent is almost equal to the cost of public transport charges.
- The company provides you with a complete germ-shielded bike before the ride.
- A two-wheeler is always easily sanitizable.
The government lifted the lockdown as well as introduced a new and safe style of commuting. If the means of transport is made safe, the journey of life will automatically turn safe.