Public transport buses and metro rails in India are known to be jam packed with people. Thousands of people across the country use public transportation facilities everyday to get to work or run their daily errands. Mumbai locals and Delhi metros are especially known for the huge crowds that flood the compartments daily during working hours. State road transport buses across all states carry a huge number of people across the cities every day. For many, being stuck in public transport is like a part of routine. But with the huge importance that COVID-19 places on social distancing, how would being a part of the crowd feel normal again?
We already know from the staggering death toll across the world that coronavirus deadly. But what is even more concerning is the speed at which it spreads. There has been an exponential rise in the number of cases across the world, the virus has spread like a wildfire. The only way to break this change is to maintain distance from people and restrict your interactions. Social distancing requires a minimum of 6 feet distance to be maintained from people. Following this protocol is necessary to limit your exposure to the virus and keep yourself and your family safe. However, the concern still remains about how long do we have to keep fighting the virus? Reports from expert bodies like the WHO itself suggest that we may have to live with the virus. A latest report also states that coronavirus might transform into an endemic like the HIV if a cure is not found. This means that we can no longer be a part of public gatherings as social distancing has to be made part of our daily lives. Public transport is often the right pick when it comes to traveling for work since it is extremely affordable. In a world that is suffering from pollution due to the rise of vehicles on the road, choosing public transport was a smart choice to make. But this does not remain to be the case anymore, it could end up being a choice that is fatal.
For many office goers, this means not being able to rely on public transport anymore. It is impossible to imagine yourself stuck with hundreds of people around you when anyone could be carrying the virus. Even if you wear a mask and carry a sanitizer, it would still not be safe since the virus can get to you from nowhere. It is not only metros and buses that are unsafe, the safety of autos and taxis is questionable too. A single auto or taxi carries numerous people in a day from one part of the city to another. We sure cannot expect the auto drivers to constantly use disinfectants to keep their vehicles clean. You’ll never know if an effected person got off the auto/taxi just before you did. The risk of being infected is thus very high.
Authorities and experts suggest that this is a in fact a unique opportunity to reshape transit systems and completely change the face of public transport. Public transport can still be revived from its state of damage with strategic thinking, new technology and creative thinking but it might take a lot of time for us to achieve this. Many other nations across the world have started re-imagining what a new public transport system should look like. There would no more be people giving out tickets at counters and the number of seats buses and metros would be halved. In some countries like China, pre-booking a seat on a bus or a train has already become a new normal. But could this be the case in India where people always seem to be in a hurry? It is not easy to introduce a change in people’s daily routines in a short period of time. It might take us years to develop and get used to a system as the one described above. Although transport authorities across the country are trying to set adequate measures to curb this situation, the risk of being affected cannot be completely eradicated.
The only solution to travel safe post the lockdown is over is by the means of private transport. If you travel by your own car or bike, you don’t have to be worried about safety from the virus. Since the vehicle is constantly under your watch, disinfecting can be done from time to time. This being said, it isn’t easy for everyone to own a car or a bike. Although it is the ideal solution, it is not a very economical one. Once you enter the loop of paying off your car and bike loans, all other investments take a back seat. Investing in buying a personal vehicle is not just a one-time transaction, maintenance and insurance costs cannot be ignored. However, there is still a ray of hope that remains; taking a car/bike on rent. Many flexible business models have evolved over the past few years that let consumers subscribe to vehicles or even take them on lease. Not only do they give out bikes that can be taken on lease, they also ensure that the car/bike is being repaired and maintained from time. GoZapX follows one such model that provides you a hassle-free solution for your daily travel needs. We offer pre-owned vehicles that can be subscribed to at a minimal cost and also cover your repair, maintenance and insurance needs.
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