Speed governors functional only in 40% of buses with the State utility

The drive by the Motor Vehicles Department to enforce use of speed governors on stage carriers has caught the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) on the wrong foot as only 40 per cent of its buses have the mandatory gadgets in working condition.

The decision of Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh not to spare the corporation’s fleet led to the cancellation of the fitness certificate of 14 of its buses on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. It is the first time in recent history that the Motor Vehicles Department personnel have acted tough on the State transport undertaking.

Minister’s stance

Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed has lent support to the department, saying the corporation’s buses need not be spared as fatal accidents caused by speeding stage carriers are on the increase in the State. The death of 14 persons in a mini-bus accident near Perinthalmanna on Friday has forced the department to act tough.

KSRTC sources admitted to The Hindu that only 40 per cent of its 6,100 buses have speed governors in working condition. Over the years, road safety experts and private bus operators have been alleging that the corporation does not follow the rules on speed governors and tamper with them after obtaining the fitness certificate.

Technical snags

The State transport undertaking has installed speed governors on all buses, but snags and lack of spares have led to the present problem. Speed governors are not working on 60 per cent of the buses because of defects in their spring rod assembly, electronic control unit, motor, cable and sensors.

A top KSRTC official said steps had been taken on a war-footing to get the defects rectified and obtain spares. The corporation’s management is of the view that the buses of the KSRTC have to follow traffic and Motor Vehicle rules as other vehicles.

The official said it was not true that installing speed governors would delay the schedules as the buses would not be able to travel faster than 60 kmph. The schedules were worked out by giving ample running time.

On Monday, the Motor Vehicles Department did not check stage carriers in view of the strike by private bus operators over the cancellation of fitness certificates of many vehicles.

Official sources said the department was awaiting the outcome of a meeting convened by the Minister with the operators here on Wednesday. It is learnt that the department will not undertake checking for the next two days.

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