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Old 19th May 2020, 13:45   #1
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Default Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

With the way things are right now, one can never be too safe. For those amongst us who will be using public transportation (or flying) once the lockdown is lifted, what best practices must one keep in mind? Transport hubs are widely regarded as infection hot spots. It is said that the risk of an infection is up to 6 times higher for those using public transport. IMHO, if the distances are short, try to walk or cycle.

Here is a list of preventive measures that I could think of, but firstly, if you have any symptoms of the virus, please stay home. Using public transport will only spread it faster and to many more commuters. BHPians, please add to this list with your suggestions.

Use a proper mask!
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Starting with the obvious. Masks are now compulsory and post-lockdown, it will no longer be a strange sight to see everyone wearing one. Wearing a mask while commuting will greatly reduce the chance of contracting the virus or spreading it to others.

Usage of face shields / protective eyewear
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Something that many people are overlooking = the virus can spread through the eyes as well. Use face shields or protective eyewear / sunglasses / prescription glasses to prevent the virus from entering the eyes, nose or mouth. Face shields could prevent us from unknowingly touching our eyes & mouth too.

Avoid touching any surfaces
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Avoid touching surfaces unnecessarily. These can be handrails on escalators or stairs, armrests, and even grab rails in buses and trains. Use them only if you HAVE to. Also, if possible, wipe down the surface you are grabbing a hold of with a disinfectant, although this may not be practically possible all the time. You could even use a tissue to hold the grab rails. The virus can last on some surfaces for days.

Using disposable gloves & hand sanitizers
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Sometimes, touching these surfaces is unavoidable. Use disposable gloves to prevent direct contact with any surface and prevent the transmission of the virus. Always carry + use a hand sanitizer when travelling, and frequently wash your hands.

Travel during off-peak hours / take less popular routes!
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Change your travel timings to off-peak hours when the crowds are thinner. Allow more time for your commute. If the bus / train is crowded, wait for the next one which could be less crowded. Or try to take a longer route if you know it will have lesser crowd.

Maintain a distance
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Frankly impossible in India, but you must wherever possible. Maintain at least a 6 feet distance between you and other passengers to reduce the risk of transmission from an infected person. Sit or stand as far away as possible from other people. If you see an isolated seat at the back, choose that. There are plans to make social distancing compulsory in buses. They may be allowed to carry only 50% of capacity. APSRTC has come with a new seating configuration to ensure that distance is maintained between passengers. One more tip = try to avoid the line when stepping in or out (wishful thinking in India, I know).

Avoid metros / air-conditioned buses and trains
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Avoid travelling in metros or even air-conditioned buses / trains; use regular buses and trains where there is more fresh air coming in from the outside.

Don't touch your face!
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Easier said than done, but you will have to break this human habit.

Use contactless payment
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As far as possible, use contactless payment to buy tickets. For example, in a Mumbai local train station, use the automatic ticket dispensing machine with a smart card instead of one from the ticket counter. Also, use e-tickets wherever possible. Buses may also get the option of e-payment and digital tickets.

Carry exact change
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Smart cards and contactless payment are not widely used in India. Whenever that is not possible, carry the exact change required for a ticket so you don't receive any infected money in exchange. It also reduces the interaction time with another person. Bus operators have been advised to have a box to drop cash in and have flat rates to minimize cash exchange.

Run in the opposite direction
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If the person next / close to you is coughing or sneezing, move away from your spot ASAP, no matter what the inconvenience.

Wash your hands & clothes immediately
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When you get home, wash your hands, put your clothes in the washing machine and take a shower.

Avoid travelling as much as possible
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The fact is, one can get a lot done from home. Try to avoid travel as much as possible and whatever can be done via your computer / phone / video meetings, do just that. Talk to your boss & request work-from-home privileges as much as possible.

Last edited by Aditya : 19th May 2020 at 13:47.
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Old 19th May 2020, 13:49   #2
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 19th May 2020, 15:06   #3
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

These are valid points, but practically implementable only in large offices by educated and aware staff. If markets are to be opened, fact is that social distancing is impossible. Public transport is always going to be overcrowded. Roads are anyway used way beyond capacity. Even under lockdown, so many people were going around as if everything was normal. I fear to think what will happen when things start to reopen. India is synonymous with two things: poor hygiene and crowds. Both of them are going to be our undoing against the virus. The curve in nowhere near flattening and with rising testing and with more people out, confirmed cases will rise exponentially.
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Old 19th May 2020, 15:23   #4
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

The best, and by far the safest precaution one can take in case of public transport is simply not to take public transport.

There are way too many unknowns, whether it be a bus, train, metro or a plane. The risk of bringing home the virus is extremely high.
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Old 19th May 2020, 18:29   #5
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

I completely agree with dailydriver and Shreyans. First thing to remember even in post lockdown is not to travel. Manage as much as you can without going out. If you still have to, use your own vehicle, bike instead of car if you are going through heavy traffic.

About managing the social distancing and not touching any surface or eyes and all, it happens no matter what you do. While I am at hospital, no matter how hard I try, it always happens. If you keep thinking about corona and all the precautions all the time, you won't be able to focus on your work.

For office workers, best is to work from home as much as possible. Currently there are many companies, who are calling employees in 10 days off and 10 days on fashion. I think that's the best way to avoid this public transport and spread of Corona.
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Old 20th May 2020, 10:49   #6
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Avoiding Public transport is impossible for majority of our population.

We all must have been taking a bath and changing clothes once home from outside, try to do it in office location as well if there is shower facility.

How will we protect ourselves from something like Rush hour local train travel?
I dont see a solution for this at all, and in Mumbai there is no alternative for local trains since distances are huge.

Post lockdown people will surely prefer personal transport, and this is also a problem since our cities simply cannot cope up with increased numbers.

Last edited by silverado : 20th May 2020 at 10:51.
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Old 20th May 2020, 11:03   #7
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Is it wise to order food online though? Because for many of us, cooking at all times is not feasible, so there would be at least that one time when we have to rely on a restaurant; and travelling there ourselves is best avoided. I’m in two minds about it, so if someone could shed some light on it, thanks a lot.
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Old 20th May 2020, 14:06   #8
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

A very important point I would like to add is to not carry footwear that you use outdoors into your home.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHelix0202 View Post
Is it wise to order food online though? Because for many of us, cooking at all times is not feasible
The issue here is not with outside cooked food. The concern is that outside cooked food changes multiple hands during packaging, billing, delivery. More over getting something home that you cannot sanitize or keep at home untouched for at least a few hours is not possible with food items.

One option is to remove the food from the packaging with precaution, discarding the packaging, washing your hands and re-heating the food to kill any pathogens before consumption.

Try to avoid raw or uncooked food items from outlets.

Last edited by nasa_hubble : 20th May 2020 at 14:08.
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Old 20th May 2020, 14:29   #9
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

As most of you have said, I too think it's virtually impossible in India to completely avoid public transport for everyone. Not all office goers or people who have to go out have cars or can ride a bike. Then there is this huge transport industry which can't survive without people. Last but not the least is that we don't have enough roads to accommodate huge traffic if everybody starts using own transport all of a sudden.

I think the best possible solution, even if not viable at the moment, is wearing PPE kits while travelling in a bus/metro. Just put it off as soon as you reach your destination and sanitize. I said currently it's not viable because we don't have enough number of PPE kits available even for doctors and nurses, let alone common people and secondly I think in our hot and humid weather, wearing a PPE kit in a crowded place for hours will not be very comfortable.
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Old 20th May 2020, 18:45   #10
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Most of our non AC buses and coaches in trains are over crowded beyond capacity.

The AC classes at least maintain some semblance of order but the problem with the virus is it has more chance of spreading in centralized A/C!

Probably we have to go for a luxury variant of non AC buses (non AC volvos) or First Class coaches in Trains which were costlier than Third AC and had their own rooms. Please note I am not being elitist.

Our infrastructure is simply not enough for everyone to get their own vehicle in cities. There will be endless traffic jams and no one will get anywhere. Public transport ahead is the only way for our cities to become sustainable.

We have to think of other means like strong staggering of work hours maybe people working in the morning and evening shifts. More industries shifting to night shifts, etc.

Already we are seeing some amount of de urbanization due to the huge migration of labourers. The virus has forced us to strongly re-look at our infrastructure planning.
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Old 20th May 2020, 23:25   #11
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Tape your dominant fingers that you usually use to rub eyes or pick nose. This will break the habit of touching your face. Easier typed than done.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 21st May 2020 at 02:05. Reason: Typos.
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Old 21st May 2020, 02:30   #12
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinya_jag View Post
Easier typed than done.
Easier typed than taped?
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Old 21st May 2020, 04:47   #13
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

The Covid situation has revealed the importance of personal transport. Feel really sad for those who criticized cars and preferred ola/uber. Public transport is not at all safe whatever precautions you take, it is best to avoid it and stay at home. Book a car or a bike as soon as possible it is the safest way to travel with peace of mind.
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Old 21st May 2020, 10:19   #14
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

Quote:
Originally Posted by roby_dk View Post
The Covid situation has revealed the importance of personal transport. Feel really sad for those who criticized cars and preferred ola/uber. Public transport is not at all safe whatever precautions you take, it is best to avoid it and stay at home. Book a car or a bike as soon as possible it is the safest way to travel with peace of mind.
I am a supporter of public transport (particularly rail based). However, even in the pre-covid days it made sense to own a personal vehicle as an option of last resort. I think even now all options are relevant.
Mass transit options such as buses and trains will have to be reformated in order to control crowding and prevent passengers from being too close. This will take time and won't be easy to achieve. Till then the more cautious will have to resort to personal vehicles and perhaps walking for shorter distances. It is also sensible to rethink ones need to travel.
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Old 21st May 2020, 10:51   #15
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Default Re: Precautions to take while using public transport in India (post-lockdown)

All we can do is wear a mask when boarding crowded public transport. The worry about PPE and washing clothing is needless. The virus won’t survive on clothing for more than a few minutes and we don’t normally put our clothes in our mouth. Even if you happen to sit on a seat where some virus has landed or if you rub such an area with your arm or leg, your face won’t have contact with that area. So the risk is miniscule. PPE is for hospitals where there is a lot of viral load and the doctors have to spend a lot of time close to the patients. So all you need is a mask, possibly an N95 type if the metro coach or bus is crowded. Simply wash your hands once you get to the office or home and avoid touching your face in the interim. You can also carry sanitiser and clean your hands every so often if washing is not possible. Beyond that, it is just luck. Everything involves some risk.
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