The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation said it will facilitate the travel of Indians who are being repatriated from other countries from the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi to Noida and Ghaziabad during the lockdown. However, the fares will be as high as Rs 10,000 for a taxi ride from the airport to any destination within a 250 km radius, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday.
In a letter issued on May 9 to the corporation’s regional managers in Noida and Ghaziabad, UPSRTC Managing Director Raj Shekhar said passengers cleared by the Delhi government who have no symptoms of Covid-19 can use the bus and taxi services at the airport.
A taxi for a journey of up to 250 km from the airport would cost Rs 10,000. “Each additional kilometre would cost Rs 40,” the letter said. “Booking an SUV would cost Rs 12,000 for [the] first 250km and Rs 50 for each additional kilometre. Besides the driver, only two persons can sit in the taxi.”
A single seat in a non air-conditioned bus would cost Rs 1,000, while a seat in an air-conditioned bus is priced at Rs 1,320 for 100 km. The charges would double for any distance beyond that. The buses will accommodate a maximum of 26 persons so that all norms of physical distancing are followed.
The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation is currently using the buses to ferry passengers from the Delhi airport to different quarantine centres and hotels, AK Singh, the corporation’s regional manager for Ghaziabad told the newspaper. “We have received the order from the headquarters to ferry returnees in buses and taxis,” he said. “They will be transported as per the directions of the Delhi government and the Ghaziabad administration.”
Singh refused to comment on the exorbitant fee structure, but said the government’s initiative is a safer option for travellers.
Anurag Yadav, the assistant regional manager for the corporation’s Noida unit said that till now, some buses have been transporting stranded migrant workers to districts of Uttar Pradesh, as well as to other states free of cost. “Now, we have received a letter from the headquarters to ply buses and taxis from the Delhi airport,” he said. “We will take suitable measures once the administration gives us the nod.”
The high fare structure, however, faced criticism from some quarters. KK Jain, general secretary of the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations, said the rates will further burden travellers. “We used to commute from Noida to the Delhi airport for Rs 800 before the lockdown,” he said. “ A fare of Rs 10,000 for a single trip to Noida or Ghaziabad is too much.”
The state corporation has constituted a three-member committee to review the fares, Shekhar said. “The officials of department of operation, technical and regional transport authority are members of this committee,” he told the newspaper. “ They will look into the matter and submit recommendations.”