GUWAHATI: With the announcement of the Assam government's new guidelines after the massive surge of COVID-19 cases all over the state, the revised guidelines suggested all public transportation should only carry with a passenger's strength of 50 percent only.
With the new guidelines in place, reports have come from several parts of the city wherein commuters are paying more than the authorized fare both in the city bus or in a tata magic vehicle.
Allegedly Tata Magic is charging Rs 30 instead of Rs 15 in the Narangi to 6 Mile route. Meanwhile, buses were seen charging Rs 10 instead of Rs 7 in the same Narangi to Noonmati route.
Speaking to The Sentinel, one of the commuters said, "Some city buses were seen charging 10 rupees as fare in place of 7 rupees. Tata magics functioning with 50% capacity were also seen charging double of the actual fare in and around the city."
Meanwhile, the Guwahati Metro Transport Association (GMTA) has demanded the Regional Transport Authority to double the bus fares after the State government issued SOPs (Standard operating procedures) stating that the city buses will have to operate with half seating capacity.
The SOPs for Public Transport for both government and private vehicles are — All Public transport authorities shall enforce COVID-19 appropriate behavior and seating inside the vehicles, carriers, containers, etc. Read more
* Auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, and taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers maintaining social distancing.
* City buses, intra-district, and inter-state buses will be allowed to operate with 50 percent seating capacity. * No passenger shall be allowed to travel standing inside the vehicle.
* Wearing of mask and observance of COVID-19 appropriate behavior will be mandatory for all passengers.
Talking to The Sentinel, GMTA general secretary Bipul Kalita said that they will follow the directions issued by the government. However, the government should also look after the condition of the transport workers who will incur huge losses.
"Today, we attended a meeting with the Regional Transport Authority of Kamrup Metro where we were directed to implement the directions of the SOPs. If we operate with 50 percent seating capacity then we cannot recover our fuel expenses. We have appealed to the RTA to allow us to charge double fare from the people. The COVID pandemic burnt a hole in our pockets last year. Thus, to save the transport workers the government will have to take responsibility," he added.