The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation’s managing director Raj Shekhar, on May 9th, issued a letter to the corporation’s regional managers in Noida and Ghaziabad, informing them that they will facilitate the travel of residents brought back from foreign countries under the Vande Bharat Mission from Delhi airport to Noida, Ghaziabad and other nearby areas.

The issued letter stated that the corporation will provide buses and taxis at the airport to those who would be cleared by the Delhi government to travel and have no symptoms of Covid-19. 

UPSRTC has decided to facilitate those wanting to travel from Indira Gandhi International Airport to Noida and Ghaziabad but at an unreasonably heavy cost. For a taxi ride from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to any destination within a 250km radius, one will have to spend as much as 10,000 rupees.

While hundreds of people are stranded at different places and are struggling to reach home due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the minimum cost of booking a taxi of the UPSRTC will be ₹10,000 for sedans and ₹12,000 for an SUV. Any additional distance, beyond the 250 km, will cost additional charges. Each additional kilometre would cost ₹40. 

Booking an SUV would cost ₹12,000 for first 250 km and ₹50 for each additional kilometre. Not just that, the other alternative that the state provides is the corporation’s buses for a minimum of ₹1,000 per seat in non air-conditioned bus and for ₹1,320 per seat in air-conditioned bus for a distance of up to 100 km.

The charges would double for any distance 101-200 km. The buses will accommodate a maximum of 26 persons, in order to maintain social distancing. At present, all people brought back from foreign countries are kept in 14-day quarantine in Delhi. 

Once they complete the quarantine period, these people would need to avail transport facilities to reach their homes in different cities.

Anurag Yadav, assistant regional manager, UPSRTC, Noida, in an interview said until now some UPSRTC buses have ferried migrant people from Noida to other districts of Uttar Pradesh as well as to other states, on the directions of district administration.

The services to transport migrant workers were free of cost. Now, we have received a letter from the headquarters to ply buses and taxis from the Delhi airport. We will take suitable measures once the administration gives us the nod.

While the authorities at the UPSRTC are thinking to introduce some changes in the fare structure, it might further burden travellers. A person could commute from Noida to IGIA for Rs 800 before the lockdown.

A fare of ₹10,000 for a single trip to Noida or Ghaziabad is too much. The government should reconsider the fare structure to help people who are already troubled by the lockdown the coronavirus spread.