Anil Kumar Sastry
Ear-splitting air horns, rash driving and often running without a permit define these vehicles
BANGALORE: You must have encountered them: those giants that come roaring at you, or overtaking you, terrorising you with their manic speed.
Those private buses — authorised as well as unauthorised — that rumble on our roads speeding to various destinations that have been choking our already congested city roads even as civic agencies and government departments concerned turn a blind eye on them.
The Transport Department had issued over 1,000 permits to private operators after modifying schemes meant for exclusive operation of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses around Bangalore last year.
Permits were issued to private operators to operate buses to Chamarajanagar, Malavalli, M.M. Hills, Kollegal, Ramanagaram, Maddur, Chickaballapur, Siddlaghatta, Mulbagal, Kolar, KGF, Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Vijayapura, Koratagere, Madhugiri, Sira, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Magadi and other places.
All-India tourist buses, which are supposed to ply between two points transporting groups of tourists, too operate as regular buses on long distance routes and add to the traffic woes in the city.
Kalasipalya in the heart of the city is the only bus- stand for private operators and roads leading in and out of K.R. Market are swamped with en-number of private buses.
It is “maintained” by Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
After leaving K.R. Market, these buses park for minutes together on wayside bus stops near Mysore (Sirsi) Circle, Nayandahalli, Town Hall, Hudson Circle, Race Course Road, Yeshwanthpur, Palace Road (near Mysore Bank Circle), Jalahalli Circle and other prominent places obstructing smooth flow of traffic.
Blaring air horns and rash and negligent driving are the other features of these private buses.
While BMTC buses operating within the city limits are prohibited from using air horns, private buses blatantly flout this rule.
Even traffic police admit that these buses are driven rashly.
Along with buses with permit, several private buses operate without any permit risking passengers’ lives.
The traffic police could not prevent entry of these buses into the city as the only private bus-stand was in Kalasipalya, said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) Praveen Sood.
On illegal operation, Mr. Sood said it was primarily the duty of the Transport Department to check whether the buses had permits to operate.
Unless the bus-stand was shifted to outskirts — satellite bus stations on entry points of all major roads, congestion on city roads could not be averted.
Even KSRTC had to shift its operation to city outskirts; Mr. Sood said and added that work on KSRTC’s Jalahalli transit centre had begun.
Though these private operators are supposed to ply off the highways connecting villages, often they operated on national highways, eating into the revenue of KSRTC and BMTC. A senior KSRTC official said that with private operators avoiding village routes, the corporations were blamed and pressure was put on them to connect such villages.
With the illegal operation, the corporations were losing considerable revenue, which could not be quantified, he added.