Turkey

Turkey: Inter-city bus ridership plunges amid virus

Number of people using buses for inter-city travel fell 80% due to coronavirus outbreak, says sector group

Hikmet Faruk Baser   | 24.03.2020
Turkey: Inter-city bus ridership plunges amid virus

ISTANBUL 

Inter-city bus ridership has plummeted 80% amid the coronavirus outbreak and authorities urging people to stay home, according to a sector group.

Due to the outbreak, all inter-city buses in Turkey are disinfected half an hour before the journey begins, Birol Ozcan, head of the Turkish Bus Federation, told Anadolu Agency.

Ozcan said all bus companies take extra care to maintain hygiene and offer disinfecting cologne to all passengers.

Amid the outbreak, all bus firms are in negotiations as to how to deal with this crisis in the next two to three months, he added.

“We started to cut the number of daily trips, and some firms have started doing joint journeys,” he said.

He added: “Although people are trying to leave big cities to go to smaller Anatolian ones, there are no passengers coming back, which cause the firms economic losses.”

Ozcan also said the refreshments offered to passengers during trips are also restricted, and they are considering stopping them altogether.

Coach stopover points are also disinfected daily.

“The transport sector might not tolerate this situation longer,” he said. “Many firms have tax debts, and they can’t pay them off in the current situation. It will affect tens of thousands of workers in the sector. Our government should support the sector.”

Turkey has a sizeable coach sector, with millions of people nationwide using buses to go on holidays or visit families rather than using cars, trains, or airplanes.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, coronavirus has spread to at least 169 countries and regions, with a total death toll over 16,500 and nearly 384,000 cases, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The WHO has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

According to the latest official figures, Turkey has 1,529 confirmed coronavirus cases and the death toll stands at 37.

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