The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) will now charge people brought back from abroad under Vande Bharat Mission a whopping ₹10,000 for a taxi ride from the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) to any destination within a 250km radius that is Noida and Ghaziabad, a report in Hindustan Times reported.
Amid the Coronavirus outbreak, thousands of people stranded in different places are struggling to return home, they will have to pay a minimum of ₹10,000 for booking a sedan and ₹12,000 for an SUV.
Additional distance beyond 250km will cost additional charges. The corporation’s buses plying on the route will incur a minimum cost of ₹1,000 per seat in the non-air-conditioned bus and for ₹1,320 per seat in the air-conditioned bus for a distance of up to 100km, the report stated.
“The corporation will provide buses and taxis at the airport. Those people who would be cleared by the Delhi government to travel and have no symptoms of COVID-19, can avail of this service,” the letter by UPSRTC managing director Raj Shekhar to the corporation’s regional managers in Noida and Ghaziabad said, informing them that they will have to facilitate the travel of people brought back from foreign countries under the Vande Bharat Mission from Delhi airport to Noida and Ghaziabad and other nearby areas.
Each additional kilometer would cost ₹40. Booking an SUV would cost ₹12,000 for first 250km and ₹50 for each additional kilometer,” it said. Besides the driver, only two persons can sit in the taxi, the letter said.
A single seat in a non-air-conditioned bus would cost ₹1,000 and a seat in an air-conditioned bus would cost ₹1,320 for 100km. The charges would double for any distance 101-200km. 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, the transport department would facilitate their travel to Noida, Ghaziabad and other cities, the letter further stated.
“At present, we engage our buses to ferry passengers from Delhi airport to different hotels and quarantine centres in Delhi. We have received the order from the headquarters to ferry returnees in buses and taxis. They will be transported as per the directions of the Delhi government and Ghaziabad administration,” AK Singh, regional manager, UPSRTC, Ghaziabad, said
“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,” Anurag Yadav, assistant regional manager, UPSRTC, Noida, said.
KK Jain, general secretary, FONRWA, criticised the fare hike and said it will further burden the stranded people. “We used to commute from Noida to IGIA for ₹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,” he said.