Punjab private bus operators lay off 15,000 drivers, conductors - ECAS Punjab

Punjab private bus operators lay off 15,000 drivers, conductors

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Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, June 17

With the once-flourishing private bus transport in Punjab failing to get back on track even after the easing of Covid curbs, around 15,000 drivers and conductors eking out a living through the business have been rendered jobless. The private players, who own more than 7,000 buses, claim the government rider allowing the vehicles to run at half their capacity had made their business unviable.

Running into losses

  • Operators say the social-distancing condition to keep 50% seats vacant is unviable

  • They say they aren't allowed to pick or drop passengers at stations in between the starting-ending points

Avtar Henry, former Congress minister and president of Punjab Private Bus Operators who owns 60 buses, says, "The social-distancing condition allows us to fill only 50 per cent of the seats. Moreover, we can't pick or drop passengers en route the starting and ending points.

Deepa, a driver, said his employer had started operating one-third of his buses and was calling the staff on rotation. "I get to work after every three days and earn Rs 400 day. From salaried class, we have been reduced to daily wagers."

The government-run PRTC and Punbus, on the other hand, have resumed operations partially and even cleared the staff salaries for the lockdown period.



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