(PTI Photo/Mitesh Bhuvad)

BHOPAL: The number of passengers has declined in the public transport and the busy markets are lying deserted owing to COVID-19 scare. The people are hesitant to use public transport even as their number has fallen by about 12 percent.

The transporters running inter-state buses claim they have witnessed a decline of over 60 per cent in the number of passengers. The number of buses plying from ISBT has also reduced. Besides, people have avoided travelling outside Bhopal or to the other state. The chartered buses moving towards other states are not allowed to provide blankets for passengers.

Railways, buses, taxis and other public transports along with the traders of different commodities are bearing the brunt of scare. ISBT has a stop for the buses and taxis for about 13 transporters and all of the service providers are suffering losses. As many as 52 chartered buses, 37 sleeper buses and 30 buses run from the station.

The transporters claim the number of passengers has fallen by over 60 per cent and it is very hard for them to run buses out of Bhopal with less than 40 per cent occupancy. Hans travels owner Sunny said there were over 15,000 passengers using bus services on daily basis. Now, the figure has fallen by less than 7,000 in a day, he says.

On the other hand, there was an average ridership of 1, 40,000 persons in the local buses of BCLL but the figure has fallen to 1, 24,000 after COVID-19 threat.

The busy markets in Bhopal are also lying deserted and the residents come out only to buy essential goods. Though grocers have buyers, business of jewellery, textiles, hotels, eating joints etc is down. Navneet Agrawal, a trader in chowk market, said there is a loss of over 20 per cent as footfalls have reduced due to COVID-19 threat. “Chowk market wears a deserted look and our businesses are suffering,” he said.

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