While the pandemic doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon, travel restrictions in India are slowly being reduced to revive the tourism industry and those financially affected. Beyond those reasons, there’s still a lot of need for public transport as an essential service. So it is comprehensible why one would take such risks to travel even at times like these.
If you’re planning on taking a bus in India during covid, there are certain guidelines you should keep in mind. However, you should also keep yourself informed regarding the lockdown status and regulations of the city/state you need to visit. Since the rules keep updating pretty often, it’s important to know whether you can take a bus to a particular destination in India or not.
So here is a comprehensive guide on how to take a Bus in India during covid.
Mandated Guidelines For An Inter City Bus
Although the buses have resumed their services, it is not as it was pre-corona. It will still take a few more months before the services are back full fledgedly. Hence, it is imminent to keep an eye on updates regarding the guidelines. It is advised to the passengers to be up-to-date on the issued protocols of the state and region that they are about to travel to.
The rules regarding inter-city and inter-state road transport have also been relaxed by various cities and states with the Unlock 5.0 in India. However, you’ll have to check with the state transport or private bus service providers regarding availability and frequency, which is not too high. Moreover, you will have to read up on the Unlock 5.0 guidelines of the specific state/city you’re visiting, to find out whether bus transportation would be a possibility for you or not.
Book your tickets online at the portal of the concerned website. By purchasing an e-ticket, you are minimizing the physical contact and exposure from the virus.
Do not forget to check your temperature before travelling. This ensures a safe environment for everyone, including yourself. It is also vital to keep your face masks on throughout the entire journey till you get back home.
Download the Aarogya Setu app prior to travelling. The app helps in raising awareness about Covid-19 and one of its features is to alert the user regarding nearby infected areas using the device’s GPS and bluetooth.
For long and overnight trips, it is advised to bring your own bedding (such as blankets and pillows) as none will be provided.
In case you run out of tissues, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve of your clothing to avoid spreading the germs. It is prohibited to dispose of your biohazardous materials like tissues or masks or gloves inside the bus.
Extra Precautions That You Can Take
Keeping your face mask on at all times by protecting yourself from any transmission of the virus is vital. At the same time, there is a lot more you can do on your part to ensure your safety.
While commuting via a bus, it is inevitable to come in contact with the virus through commonly touched surfaces like the handrails, door knobs, baggage compartments etc. Hence, it’s important that you don’t forget to sanitize using an alcohol based sanitizer, not just once, but multiple times throughout your journey.
Do not flock at one place or rush to catch up with the bus thereby ignoring the crucial social distancing. Leave the seats empty that are marked in order to endorse proper distance between individuals.
Avoid cramped commutes like subways. Preferably choose a window seat as the more ventilation, the better it is. Apart from that, carry your own disinfectant products with which wipe your seat and nearby areas before settling in.
If possible, try to commute using a non air-conditioned bus for ventilation purposes as it is highly possible that they might not have installed safety features like air purifiers and might not change air vents periodically. It is understandable why one would like to opt for AC private buses, but at times like these avoid buses that do not follow the basic principles of distancing.
Avoid eating food for short trips even if they are homemade. Do not unnecessarily touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your hands. In case of long trips, make sure to properly wash and sanitize your hands before eating.
After arriving at your destination, remember to remove your shoes, put your clothes to wash and take a bath as soon as you can. In case you carried a bag or suitcase, do not forget to disinfect them too.
Be it for leisurely travel or for unavoidable circumstances, taking a bus in India during covid is certainly a possibility. Although, we shouldn’t forget that the pandemic still isn’t in the past. So let us all be responsible citizens by abiding to the rules and letting the authorities do their work smoothly. In case you do not feel well, abstain from travelling and home quarantine yourself for 14days after visiting the nearby health facility.