The world is witnessing an unprecedented time. The rapid outbreak of coronavirus has changed our lives considerably. It has altered the way we live, socialise, stand in queues, shop, eat, wash our hands and more. But what has changed the most is how we travel.
The spread of COVID-19 has primarily impacted the travel industry. Ever since coronavirus first broke out in Wuhan, China in December 2019, travelling became a challenge.Book Flights
But, thankfully, things have begun to change for the better. One must remember that the new normal will be different, especially in terms of travelling.
Here are some ways bus services will change because of the pandemic
Rise in bus bookings
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, bus travel might be the least risky mode of transportation also, because many travellers will prefer to travel closer to home. Short trips, road trips are likely to make a comeback, and domestic travel will boom. Experts believe that there will be an increase in bus bookings, especially for short journeys.
Social distancing or physical distancing is a non-pharmaceutical measure taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by keeping a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with one another. And this social distancing will become the new standard (if it already hasn’t). If you are planning to travel by bus, the seat next to you will most likely be empty, and each coach will have fewer passengers than usual. The bus crew will also have to be strict about maintaining strict social distancing measures in the bus.
Bus tickets may become expensive
If each bus only allows fewer passengers to travel at one time, carriers may increase the price of the tickets. Bus bookings may become slightly more expensive. However, since there are a variety of bus operators varying from state-owned to luxury, ticket prices will still be reasonably affordable.
Bus operators will have to practise regular disinfecting
This one is for bus operators! To ensure that leisure travel picks up, bus operators will have to embrace disinfecting the bus before and after the journey, and even while taking stops if the trip is very long. Travellers might be apprehensive about travelling again, and this step is crucial to gain their trust. Hygiene will be everything. From disinfecting surfaces to keeping alcohol-based hand sanitisers, bus operators will have to ensure that all procedures are in order.
Masks will be mandatory!
Several studies have revealed that wearing a mask reduces the risk of coronavirus, and hence it has become compulsory everywhere around the globe. Similarly, while travelling on a bus too, all passengers will have to wear masks during the journey. Or cover their face with a cloth. This applies to bus drivers, conductors and other bus crew as well.
E-tickets will be preferred
All passengers will be encouraged to purchase the tickets online. A few bus booths may be open for booking, but people will have to practise social distancing while queuing up. So if you are going to plan a bus trip soon? Try and buy your tickets online as it will be the recommended method and is certainly a safer option at the moment. Purchasing tickets on the bus will not be possible as most operators are going cashless.
Screening of passengers before boarding the bus
All passengers will be subject to checking by the bus staff. If any passenger has a fever or is showing flu-like symptoms, they will not be allowed to board the bus as it can be risky for fellow passengers. Passengers will also be given a hand sanitiser before boarding the bus and at different times during the journey. Entry will be prohibited for those without masks.
Carrying a hygiene kit
The passengers should keep a hand sanitiser, tissues and cleaning wipes with them. All these things might come in handy if one wants to clean the surrounding surfaces, wash their hands etc.
Less Frequency of Buses
In the beginning, there will be limited bus routes, and operators will have to stick to non-curfew hours. In India, these hours differ from state to state. Bus journeys might not be allowed in containment zones or states with a high number of COVID-19 cases. Bus services might only run in green or safe zones.
Dedicated doors for entry and exit
Bus companies will be fixing doors for onboarding and offboarding to avoid people coming into contact with one another frequently. The bus crew will have to ensure that this protocol is followed. Passengers will also need to be patient while travelling.
Travel with less luggage
It is advisable to travel with as less luggage as possible so that there are fewer things that may get infected.
Precautions to take at stoppages
Try and carry your food from home and avoid sharing it with others. If stopping to buy, choose packaged food instead of open, unpacked items. Sanitise the product you buy before you consume it. Keep change handy so that you don’t have to take any notes back or better use UPI or wallet services to pay for food. When using the facilities, use tissue paper to touch the handles, taps or any other surfaces.
Lastly, be alert all the time. Both passengers, as well as bus operators, should strictly adhere to guidelines and follow the precautions diligently.
Slowly and steadily, travel will generally resume as before, but until then, we must follow all preventive measures. It is a positive sign that governments all over the world are slowly opening up the economy. As a part of the same, travel is resuming too! This will help people to continue going to work and carry on with their lives. However, the fight against coronavirus is far from over. Next few months are still critical, and travelling certainly comes with its risks.
In the end, it’s great that all across the globe, countries are going back to normal, and it is worth celebrating that we’ll soon be travelling again. Plenty of holidays await us after these dark times are over! Stay home, stay safe.
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