Long distance journey bus operators in Nigeria, under the aegis of Public transport owners of Nigeria Association (PTONA) have mapped out new ways of carrying out their business in the country to contain the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic when the current ban on inter-state traveling is finally lifted.
The proposed guideline comes ahead of the anticipated reopening of the nation’s economy any time soon.
The guidelines of operation, which include that each transport terminal shall designate a staff as health officer, was contained in a letter signed by the association’s president, Isaac Uhunmwagho of Efex Executive/Efosa Express and Frank Nneji of the ABC Transport Plc.
The letter was presented to the Presidential Task Force on COVID- 19, chaired by the secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha recently.
The association emphasized in the letter that 15-seater buses would henceforth convey only nine passengers, including the driver, while a 59-seater bus would convey only 28 passengers, reducing the number of passengers per row in the buses into two to comply with the physical distancing protocol.
Inclusive in the guideline is that in each location of every transport company, a washing station to comprise of water storage bucket, receiving bowl and liquid soap and hand sanitizer in a standard dispenser, shall be established and placed in strategic places for use by everyone entering their business premises.
The association also mandated that infrared thermometer must be provided by the company at each departure terminal to check, identify and report to appropriate authority any commuter’s body temperature that is above 37.50C adequately informing the them about the decision.
In order to allow free flow of fresh air, the guideline further stated that vehicles would not be allowed to operate with air-conditioners and all passenger operations shall be carried out from designated organized/standard bus terminals, not from roadsides.
According to the letter, the health officer staff will liaise with appropriate NCDC official in the state of operation and be acquainted with all COVID-19 prevention/management protocols.
“PTONA shall have a task force to work jointly with designated representatives of the government, like the Federal Road Safety Corps, to ensure compliance with all the protocols listed above.” The letter reads.