With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) have asked staff members who are 50 years and above to avail of leave.
For KSRTC, this would mean 4,500 of its staff across districts off duty. Around 5,000 BMTC employees have also been asked not to report till further orders. The corporation has a staff strength of 32,000 of which a majority are drivers and conductors who come in contact with commuters.
In total, 9,500 personnel from transport corporations will remain at home.
To date, 32 BMTC employees have contracted COVID-19. According to officials, 12 personnel have been discharged while the rest are still in the hospitals. The corporation has tested 2006 personnel at the depot level.
BMTC Managing Director C Shikha told The Hindu that the decision has been taken as per the guidelines of the government. “Employees aged over 50 years and those who have comorbidities have been asked to avail of leave. Usually, each employee earns 30 leaves per year and senior staff members have more numbers of leaves in their account due to more experience. On Monday, a circular was issued keeping in mind their health and containing the spread of pandemic. Employees get paid as they are taking balance leaves. Those who do not have leaves in their account will be provided advance leave,” she said.
Ms Shikha listed some of the precautionary measures that have been adopted across all depots. “We have taken several measures to conduct health checks for staff. Depots and buses are being cleaned on a daily basis. Each depot is supplied with pulse oximeters to test employees,” she added.
The BMTC had resumed bus services for the public on May 19, and since the lockdown restrictions have been eased, its ridership averages at around 10 lakh commuters a day.
As the bus crew interacts with thousands of people every day, the BMTC is contemplating installing protective partition screens inside its buses. Officials have already examined three prototypes.