Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) Limited will conduct counselling for students, their parents and school authorities to increase awareness on dangers of footboard travel.
The decision to hold counselling sessions comes in the wake of the death of four students who were travelling on footboard and crushed to death under an MTC bus on Old Mahabalipuram Road on Monday.
According to MTC officials, school students seldom pay heed to bus conductors and continue to travel on footboard. According to bus crew, the automatic doors cannot be closed unless students get inside the vehicle.
A committee comprising MTC officials, the traffic police and student representatives will be formed to provide counselling to student commuters.
“We will seek the help of the traffic police and NGOs to organise these meetings. Instances of footboard travelling will be reported to parents. We can do only so much,” said an official of the transport department.
During the counselling sessions, parents will be made aware of the risks face by students when travelling on footboard. “These days, most students possess cellphones. They call each other up and board the bus at the same time. They think travelling by footboard is heroic,” said the official.
On its part, MTC has taken steps to ensure that buses halt only at the bus stop, an official said. “This will reduce traffic congestion and also prevent accidents. We will ensure this practice continues,” the MTC official said.
The Chennai city traffic police will also chip in with awareness programmes. “We have intensified our crackdown on footboard travelling. Such students will be fined Rs. 100 under section 123 of the Motor Vehicles Act. In 2012 alone, 209 cases of footboard travel were booked. A total of Rs. 12,900 was collected as fine amount,” said a senior police officer.
Meanwhile, the government held a meeting with MTC to discuss steps to prevent such accidents. MTC officials have been instructed to provide special buses on routes dominated by educational institutions.
MTC has been operating 111 special buses for students in the city. The transport corporation also proposes to conduct refresher courses for drivers and conductors.
It has increased the capacity of the refresher training centre to accommodate 1,920 crew members.
The government has also advised managing directors of state transport corporations to put in a mechanism to ensure drivers are alert and in the right frame of mind when driving from point to point.