The city police have received a spate of complaints against drivers of private buses.

The city police will conduct a special drive to ensure that private bus drivers do not violate the legal speed limit, adhere to schedule timings and refrain from ‘bullying’ other motorists.

Assistant Commissioner, Traffic, South, R. Mahesh said the police had received a spate of complaints against bus drivers.

Traffic enforcers, who conducted surprise checks last fortnight, booked at least four drivers on the charge of drunk driving. An official said a section of bus drivers were heavy drinkers. Their workplace stress was intense as they drove buses almost non-stop for more than 12 hours.

Most did the strenuous duty continuously for 15 days. Incidents of road rage involving bus drivers and other motorists were on the increase. One such incident had resulted in grievous assault near Kawdiar last month.

A common complaint from citizens was that bus drivers tend to overtake through the left at considerable speed. The rash action unnerves other road-users, particularly women driving two-wheelers or cars. The “rogue action” on the part of the drivers had resulted in several accidents this year, most of them involving two-wheeler riders.

Competition between private bus operators for a larger share of passengers often resulted in violation of timings and routes. Some drivers took short-cuts to overtake a competitor.

The police said bus drivers often ignored the queue system at designated bus stops. Buses coming up from behind race to park in front of their rival. The competition for parking space at bus stops is proving to be dangerous to pedestrians and commuters. Some stage-carriage drivers park their vehicles in the middle of the road impeding traffic movement.

According to the police, there are over 100 private buses operating in the city. The competition for collection is so intense that stage-carriage operators are known to pay incentives to ‘fast' drivers who collect the most number of passengers and make the most number of trips a day on the route allotted to them.

However, private bus operators say rising fuel prices and refusal on the part of the government to permit a corresponding hike in ticket rates force them to look at other ways to sustain their business.

Most of the commuters on private buses are students travelling on concessional rates.

“The situation has forced us to compete with one another for passengers,” said a private bus operator.