Kozhikode: Long distance bus services by Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which were to begin from Saturday has been suspended following objections from the health department.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced on Thursday during his daily media briefing that the KSRTC long distance bus services which were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic will resume. Earlier, Kerala Transport Minister AK Sasindran had also informed that the service will begin from Saturday.
The health department suggested that long distance bus service should only resume after further tests are done in the state.
Earlier, 206 services were planned to resume operations on Saturday, except in containment zones.
The usage of public transport has significantly gone down during the pandemic. The sale of two-wheelers and used vehicles have risen during the period. Operating public transport in this context is challenging. The decision to operate long distance services was taken in this context, Pinarayi had said on Thursday.
Almost 9,000 private buses owners have informed the state government that they will not ply on the roads until further notice.
The decision was taken after the government refused to waiver the road tax of the buses till December. Though the state government extended the time period for paying road tax by another two months, it has refused to agree to a full waiver.
Fuel subsidy during COVID period, payment of employee's provident fund and road tax waiver were among the key demands raised by the private bus owners.