S. Anil Radhakrishnan
Overloaded buses become unstable
407 KSRTC and 198 private buses were involved in accidents in 2005Call to develop a high capacity bus transport system
Thiruvananthapuram: Footboard travel in buses is on the rise in the district due to inadequacy of an efficient public transport system.
Passengers travelling on the footboard pose a great risk as the chances of hitting against other vehicles are high when other vehicles overtake from the left side. Recently, a private bus with many children on the footboard was involved in an accident on the NH 47 near the busy Pattom-Plamood stretch.
Road safety experts say it is youngsters and students who indulge in footboard travel in the city and suburbs. Difficulty in navigating the bus and the risk of passengers getting injured are the main problems.
Although many roads have been developed in the district, the authorities have failed to provide proper lane markings. In stretches like Kowdair-LMS where lane markings are provided, the motorists openly flout the rules and are seen moving from one lane to another.
Though speed the limit of 30 kilometres per hour is prescribed, bus drivers seldom follow it. Speed restrictions near educational institutions are also not followed. About a 100 private buses and 400 KSRTC buses together operate in the city and suburban areas. This means one bus for every 2000 persons.
"Overloaded buses travelling at high speeds becomes quite unstable and navigating through the road also becomes difficult. This causes accidents," says Chief Project Coordinator of National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (Natpac) Mahesh Chand. In 2005, the capital district recorded 5376 road accidents involving 6480 vehicles.
In Thiruvananthapuram, 407 KSRTC buses and 198 private buses were involved in accidents during 2005. It shows that many buses were involved in multiple accidents as the district has 100 private buses.
Dr. Chand says the city requires a modern and high capacity bus transport system. This, in turn is dependent on good road network with provision for bus bays and a number of bus stands. Bus transport system requires all round development in terms of frequency, safety and quality of service, he says.
The traffic police, KSRTC authorities and crew of the private buses can also effectively crackdown on footboard travel.