With Covid cases continuing to increase in the Pune metropolitan region, the city’s public transport bus service Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) has started to strictly implement directions which mandate that only those who have taken both doses of the vaccine can travel in its buses.
The administration had earlier sought steps to contain the spread of Covid over the public transport service following which Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who is also the Guardian Minister of Pune district, said PMPML would be directed to allow only double-vaccinated passengers on its buses.
“We are checking the vaccination status of all commuters,” said Dattatray Zende, Traffic Manager of PMPML. He said those issuing weekly/monthly passes have been asked to verify the applicants’ vaccination status beforehand.
“The conductors check the vaccination status of commuters before issuing the ticket. Passengers who are unable to confirm their status are asked to get down from the bus,” Zende said, adding that the checkers on duty too have been asked to check the vaccination certificates of commuters along with their tickets.
Zende said they have started receiving complaints from travellers who were refused tickets or passes. “I have been getting phone calls… We can’t help it. It has been a year since the vaccination drive was launched and citizens should have taken both the doses by now.”
On whether the move would affect PMPML’s revenue, Zende said it was too early to analyse the impact as they began implementing the new guidelines only on Monday.
The administration had earlier halted the service of PMPML buses citing it could turn into a super spreader. Thereafter, the PMPML has regularly sanitized its buses, installed sanitizers, and changed the seating arrangement to one commuter per bench. Initially, no standing commuters were allowed, but the rule was relaxed after Covid cases declined.