Special teams of Transport Department have booked 880 cases and seized 577 buses plying as stage carriages with contract carriage permits since November 1, said Joint Transport Commissioner B. Venkateswarlu.

The department had launched a drive across the State following the October 30 incident involving a Volvo bus in which 45 lives were snuffed out when it caught fire on the National Highway 44 in Mahbubnagar. It resulted in cases being booked for major violations including non-maintenance of passenger list, plying buses as stage carriages with contract carriage permits, absence of a second driver, misuse of temporary permits and non-payment of proper tax.

Also, buses were found taking on board more passengers than prescribed by having extra seats, carrying commercial luggage, not having the mandatory fire extinguisher and first aid boxes and the like. In two instances, criminal cases were filed when buses were found carrying fire crackers in the luggage compartment.

Mr. Venkateswarlu told the presspersons that in the wake of the ghastly accident, the government was thinking of taking several measures - stricter enforcement with passenger safety given prime importance. He urged the public to file complaints if private bus operators flout regulations, at the websitewww.aptransport.org.

Asked about the case pertaining to the October 30 accident, he said the concerned Road Transport Officer had already filed a Vehicle Check Report (VCR), a document that was the basis of any case involving violation of the provisions of Andhra Pradesh Motor Vehicles Act. Since the accident involved death of passengers, he said the cases would involve the registered owner and the operator. Among proposals the State government was mulling to make it mandatory for heavy vehicle drivers, specially those driving ultra-luxury buses, to renew their licences once a year.