Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) has roped in school buses to ferry suspected Covid cases for swab testing. On Monday, the BMC tweeted, "More ambulances at city service! 200 customised ambulances with safety partition for drivers have been prepared to cater to the transportation requirement of patients across the city."
Anil Garg, president of the School Bus Owners' Association, said, "Yes the buses will be used to take suspected Covid patients for swab testing.
For instance, if an infected patient comes in contact with his family, they too are required to be tested. For this purpose, the suspected individuals need to be taken to the nearest testing centres, which will be done using these buses.
The buses won't be kept in hospitals but will be stationed in different wards, to ferry suspected cases to and from their houses." The pandemic has caused the imposition of a nationwide lockdown, following which, schools are also shut.
Garg said, "The government was expected to provide some financial help to us as we too are severely affected, but no such announcement has been made so far. Now, with the BMC initiative to use school buses, standing idle until now, our drivers will get some monetary support.
Our drivers ‘services are not free, each one will get a minimum of Rs 15,000," he informed. For the safety of the driver, a partition has been made between his seat and the aisle, to prevent direct contact with passengers. These customised cabins will also help when schools will reopen later.
Garg explained, "Usually when school kids travel in buses, we keep getting complaints and we had been contemplating a separate cabin for the driver. Now that this partition has been made, it will continue to be in place for the safety of children and drivers later on.