Karnataka reduces bus trips to Covid-hit Maharashtra


Karnataka reduced bus service to and from Maharashtra till the Holi on March 28-29 in view of the surge in Covid cases in the neighbouring state, a top official said on Monday.

“Daily trips to and from cities and towns in Maharashtra have been reduced to 380 from 500 by cancelling 120 schedules due to rising Covid cases in the adjacent state,” North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) managing director Krishna Bajpai told reporters at Hubballi in the state’s northwest region.

Karnataka’s northwest and northern regions share a long border with Maharashtra, which is reeling under the second wave of the pandemic, of late.

“Daily trips from Bagalkot, Belagavi, Chikkodi, Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri and Vijaypura districts in the state’s northwest region to Maharashtra have been reduced to restrict the movement of people between the two states,” said Bajpai.

Rising Covid cases in both states have also reduced the movement of people across the border and in inter-state buses.

“Less than 60 per cent of the pre-Covid level commuters are travelling between the two states even after inter-state bus services were resumed in May last year,” recalled Bajpai.

Prior to Covid entering the southern state in mid-March a year ago, the state-run transport corporation used to operate 4,300 buses for 17-lakh km, ferrying 22-lakh commuters daily.

“In contrast, we are presently carrying about 14-lakh passengers daily to cities and towns on intra-state and inter-state routes covering around 13-lakh km,” added Bajpai.

Traffic controllers of each division have been advised to operate buses as per the Covid-induced guidelines and observing the standard protocols.

Meanwhile, the state health department has made carrying a 72-hour negative RT-PCR test certificate mandatory for all passengers entering the state from Maharashtra to contain the virus spread.