Public bus services resumed in Punjab on Wednesday almost two months after their suspension in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Buses of the state-owned Punjab Roadways and Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) plied on select routes in non-containment zones within the state, officials said.
Punjab Transport Minister Razia Sultana had on May 18 announced resumption of point-to-point bus services between major cities and district headquarters from May 20 with 50 per cent occupancy.
The state government has said inter-state bus services will not resume till May 31.
The central government has allowed buses to be plied in the fourth phase of the countrywide lockdown (from May 18 to May 31) to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Before the start of operations, all buses were sanitised. Passengers had to undergo temperature screening at bus stands before being allowed to board buses, officials said.
Social distancing norms were followed and it was ensured that passengers wore masks and their hands sanitised, they said.
There was no rush of passengers at most bus stands in the morning hours, but many people expressed relief at the resumption of bus services.
"I remained stuck for the past two months at Batala because of curfew restrictions. Now I am going back to my home at Balachaur, said Sunny Sharma, one of the passengers at Batala.
Another passenger at Patiala bus stand said he could not move out of the city for the past two months and now he was returning to Ludhiana.
At a few places, including Jalandhar and Amritsar, passengers came to bus stands as early as 5 am and complained of not getting buses despite waiting for long. Many passengers complained that they were made to wait till the bus had 50 per cent occupancy and started running.
At Hoshiarpur bus stand, Punjab Roadways duty inspector Madan Lal said the bus services on five routes -- Hoshiarpur to Mohali, Jalandhar, Ludhiana; Tanda-Batala; and Mukerian-Pathankot-Gurdaspur -- were resumed.
Officials said the buses will not stop midway.
At Amritsar, the bus services resumed on three routes -- Amritsar to Dera Baba Nanak, Amritsar to Pathankot, and Amritsar to Jalandhar.
At Patiala, the PRTC plied its buses on 10 routes which included Patiala, Samana, Patran, Nabha, Malerkotla and Jalandhar.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)