Private buses will be off the road from Monday across the State as organisations of bus owners have called for a strike in protest against a drive to enforce use of speed governors on stage carriers.
K.A. Makkarkunju, president, Kerala State Private Bus Operators’ Federation, said that representatives of various bus owners’ organisations from the State met here on Sunday and issued the strike call.
“The government must specify workshops where speed governors can be fitted, since the gadgets made by a few brands and fitted at regional workshops often malfunction,” he said.
Suresh Oommen, secretary, Kerala Bus Transport Association Ernakulam district unit, blamed bad roads and widespread corruption in issuing heavy-vehicle driving licence as reasons for the spate of fatal bus accidents in the State. “Most drivers are not qualified for the job. This is apart from the fact that drivers work over 12 hours at a stretch, which takes a toll on their physical and mental health. It is tough to find drivers to introduce two shifts. Moreover, the Motor Vehicles Department must reissue time schedules since the last time this was done was 25 years ago, when Kerala had less than a quarter of the vehicles it has now,” he said.
Senior officials of the department said that most buses would be in good condition when brought for the annual fitness test. The safety norms would be flouted after the test, even replacing good tyres with worn-out ones.
Officials inspected 96 buses in the district on Sunday and suspended the fitness certificate of seven which did not have speed governors. “Four other buses were issued notice, since they did not abide by fitness norms,” said Jeby Cherian, Motor Vehicle Inspector, who coordinated rule enforcement by five squads in the district.