Traveling long-distance is not a challenge for passengers perusing inter-city buses during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, bus companies are embattled with economic woes as they can only sell tickets for half of the seats due to social distancing rules. A company manufacturing bodyworks in Bursa, Turkey’s car production hub, came up with a novel solution: a single, exclusive seat for each passenger but with more seats than those in regular buses.
The first bus was unveiled at the city’s bus station on Tuesday. Sedat Türk, a company official, told Ihlas News Agency (IHA) at the unveiling ceremony that the bus with new seating order will help companies that cannot sell tickets to two adjacent seats at the same time except to families. Arafat Kaya, one of the developers of the bus, said the idea was first conceived eight months ago. “I was hearing complaints from travel companies, and together with colleagues, we decided to make something for safe travel. Now, companies can sell tickets for all seats. All seats are independent of each other. A normal bus, under pandemic restrictions, can only allow 27 passengers, but our bus can carry 38 passengers,” Kaya said. He said international companies are already showing interest in the project. “There are similar projects in the world, but this is first for Turkey,” he said.