Move is to ensure safety of other road-users

The city police have said that drivers of public transport buses, both private and State-owned, which overtake other vehicles on congested urban thoroughfares will be prosecuted.

City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham said here on Tuesday that the move was to ensure the safety of other road-users, mainly two-wheeler riders and pedestrians. The new norm would apply to drivers of cargo vehicles too.

The police would prepare a “black list” of buses and drivers, which habitually break speed limits and intimidate other motorists by trying to outrace them on busy roads.

The police would prepare a list of routes where competition between stage carriers was intense. Law enforcers would use speed detection radars and video surveillance to book errant bus drivers.

The dangerous competition was perhaps most apparent at crowded bus stops. Private bus drivers scarcely followed the queue system at roadside stops.

The bus coming from behind often raced to park in front of its “rival.” With commuters spilling over to the road at most stops, the “racing” became a traffic safety concern, the police said.

According to the police, there are more than 100 private buses operating in the city. They said the competition between bus owners for the daily collection was so intense that stage carrier operators were known to pay incentives to ‘fast' drivers who outraced other buses to collect the most number of passengers on a trip. Bus owners paid extra to drivers who made the most number of trips on the route allotted to them.

A private bus operator said that rising fuel prices and refusal on the part of the government to permit a reflective hike in ticket rates had forced them to look at such methods to make their business profitable. With educational institutions re-opening, most of the commuters were students who travelled on concessional ticket rates, he said.