After booking cases against 79 private passenger buses and seizing 68 of them for violation of Motor Vehicle Act rules as part of a fortnight-long special drive, the Transport Department in Krishna District has shifted focus onto school buses.
In a fresh three-day drive from Thursday, the Department is focussing on buses flouting rules while transporting schoolchildren.
“These buses, most of them chrome yellow in colour with the words ‘School Bus’ displayed on them, are our high priority.
Students, parents, teachers, administrators, transport personnel and the motoring public, all must play important role in keeping the children safe while on or around the school bus,” says Deputy Transport Commissioner Ch. Shivalingaiah.
Speaking about a separate format designed for school buses, Mr. Shivalingaiah says most school managements opt for retired RTC drivers as they are readily available. “But there is a norm which prohibits a person above 60 years from operating a school bus. Packing a bus with excess number of students is another common violation,” he says.
Referring to the just-concluded drive carried out for an extended period in the aftermath of the devastating October 30 incident involving a private bus in which 45 lives were snuffed out when it caught fire on the National Highway 44 in Mahabubnagar, the DTC says it resulted in cases being booked for violations that ranged from operating buses with contract carriage permits as stage carriages, absence of a second driver, failure to maintain list of passengers, gross abuse of permit norms and tax evasion.
He says of the 68 buses seized, 25 bus owners and drivers were prosecuted.
“We will continue the drive for one more week and later, once every week we will strike,” says Mr. Shivalingaiah.
Insisting that fewer drivers are flouting rules as the outcome of the ongoing drive, he believes a drop in the number of violators (now only one or two buses a day) shows that the punishment serves as a deterrent, and others are falling in line,” he claims.
A total of 498 private buses have registered in Vijayawada and between 400 and 500 buses touch Vijayawada city daily.