Awareness sessions for bus crew on importance of safe driving; non-availability of drivers despite reasonable salary a problem

Private bus fleet operators of the district have risen to the occasion to check rash driving, drunken driving, drivers using mobile phones while on duty.

“We are strictly adhering to the norms stipulated by the district administration, police and the transport department at a joint meeting a few months ago, much to the satisfaction of the authorities,” a cross section of the private flee operators claim.

The common complaint against private fleet operators is rash driving. After an accident in the city involving a private city bus due to over-speeding, the Collector and the police held detailed discussion with the operators. Following this, the operators held a separate meeting and awareness programme with the bus crew.

The importance of safe driving was stressed to the entire bus crew during a special session organised by the Tiruchi unit of the Federation of Bus Operators Association of Tamil Nadu, not by the officials of the government departments but by a few well known personalities, including renowned Tamil scholar Suki Sivam. The federation has planned to organise similar programmes to educate the drivers and further motivate them at regular intervals.

Collector Jayashree Muralidharan was particular that speed control governors should be installed in all private buses and the federation took up the responsibility to execute this fiat.

Within a short span of time, more than 75 per cent of the 147 buses plying in the city have installed the equipment, claims D. R. Dharmaraj, district secretary of the federation.

The other issues insisted by the authorities pertained to the air-horns and audio systems.

While air-horns have been totally removed from private buses, 90 per cent of buses have done away with audio system.

The collection-based batta system, over-speeding, violation of road rules, were some of the grouses attributed to bus crew by commuters. Upon the direction of authorities the collection batta system has already been done away with in the district and this has been widely commended by many, says Mr. Dharmaraj.

The main issue confronting private flee operators of late is the non-availability of drivers. The younger generation is not evincing interest in this profession, despite reasonable remuneration.

Training school

The state federation and the Tiruchi district unit have been trying to set up a drivers training school of its own, on the lines of the drivers training schools run by Ashok Leyland at Namakkal and MRF at Chennai. Both these schools have been acclaimed every where.

The need of the hour is adequate land for the purpose. If the government comes forward to provide suitable land the federation will set up a drivers training school of its own and will impart training even free of cost, Mr. Dharmaraj pointed out.