Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for road transport & highways, on Wednesday assured bus and car operators that the government was aware of their problems and that services would resume soon.
Addressing members of Bus and Car Operators Confederation of India through videoconferencing, Gadkari said, opening of transport and highways would go a long way in instilling confidence in the public. He said public transport might open soon with some guidelines.
Gadkari added that the ministry was looking at adopting the London model of public transport, where government funding is minimal and private investment is promoted.
He said the poor standards of Indian bus and truck bodies meant that they worked for only 5-7 years, whereas European models lasted up to 15 years.
Experts feel that as public transport resumes after the lockdown ends, it will be important for transporters to get ready for the “new normal” and clearly communicate to the stakeholders the implications of it.
“For example, to address health concerns in mass transit, what type of health and safety initiatives have been taken, whether it is in the form of sanitizing vehicles, training staff to monitor health of passengers, adopting new technology to integrate health and travel records or provisioning social distancing principles in public transportation,” said Mohammad Athar, partner infrastructure and urban transport at PwC India.
Gadkari said he was aware of the tight financial condition of the Indian market. The minister said it was a good opportunity to tap global demand, which might be looking to exit China. He urged Indian industry to grasp the opportunity to invite those foreign companies to invest in India.