In private buses, safety often takes a backseat

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Nikhil Gangadhar, Bangalore, Nov 1, 2013, DHNS:

Overspeeding has been a concern for a long time, say police

 The bus accident near Mahabubnagar has once again raised questions on the safety of passengers travelling in private buses. The public who travel in these buses are now worried about their safety.

Police officials point out that overspeeding has been a concern for a long time. A senior traffic police official said, “The private buses which operate from KR Market to Kolar, Malur, Chintamani, Hosur and other nearby areas ply at least twice or thrice a day. In order to accommodate more trips, they drive rashly not only within the City, but also on the outskirts. Whenever we ask them to produce documents of the vehicle, they say it is with the owner, who sits elsewhere. We just penalise them and they are ready to pay the fine without much trouble.”

These buses race against other private and government buses in the City limits.

“The drivers are literally involved in a race even when there is heavy traffic. They do this to reach the bus stop before the other buses and pick up more passengers. While doing this, they end up causing accidents,” says Manivannan, who travels every day to work from Hosur to the City Market.

A few travel agents said the whole operation of private buses was like a mafia with none to question them. One of the agents said, “Private buses are not bound by strict rules. They violate all possible rules by overloading the buses with luggage and cramming in more passengers than prescribed. Drivers and cleaners do this to make a fast buck. The drivers think they are answerable only to the owners.”

There are more than 100 travel agencies in Kalasipalya alone and more than 500 buses ply from there. On the whole, there are more than 700 buses leaving the City every day to various destinations. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Dayanand said, “This year, from January till date, we have booked 169 cases against private buses for various offences like not having valid permits for buses, no permit to ply on a particular route, overloading of passengers or luggage and rash driving. Stringent action will be taken to curb this menace.”

A driver from a well-known travel agency said, “If a proper check is done, we can get to know how many drivers carry valid licences. Whenever a driver is caught for not carrying licence, he is let off after paying ‘some amount’ to the police. Every time we enter a different city, we have to pay a ‘certain amount’ to the police, if we do not possess valid permits.”

The major hubs for operation of private buses in the city are Kalasipalya, Anand Rao Circle, Madiwala and Hebbal.

He is a Software Engineer from Moodbidri currently living in Kuwait. He likes to travel and post interesting things about technology. He is the designer of Kannadigaworld.com. You may follow him on FB at fb.com/alanpaladka

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