More than 200 Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) Volvo buses stayed off the roads for almost four hours in the morning on Tuesday as drivers and conductors staged a protest demanding payment of overtime arrears due to them.

The drivers and conductors of Vajra gathered outside the Volvo shed near Kempe Gowda bus station, refusing to take the buses out till their demands were met. The protest, which began around 6 a.m., lasted till 10 a.m. when higher officials reached the spot and gave an assurance to them. The buses began moving out of the shed only after 10 a.m.

The protestors claimed that the Corporation forced them to work 12 hours a day on a regular basis, but failed to pay them their arrears. One protestor said the Corporation’s senior officials cited their failure to keep up the time schedule as the reason for the non-payment. “The time given to cover a particular route is short in view of the heavy traffic density. When the buses fail to cover the distance in the stipulated time, the officials take action.”

Citing an example, a Volvo bus driver said that the BMTC has fixed one hour and 15 minutes as the time to cover the route from Majestic to Kadugodi. “With over 60 stops along the route that sees heavy traffic, it is not possible to keep up the schedule. If we reach the destination late, the officials take action,” he added.

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