Cases registered against bus crew for allowing it

The police have launched a special drive against footboard travel by invoking section 123(1) of Motor Vehicles Act, which sought to punish the bus crew for failing to prevent footboard travel.

In the week-long special drive from February 24 to March 3, the traffic police registered 33 cases against the crew of 12 State Transport Corporation (STC) buses and 21 private buses and slapped the conductors with a fine of Rs. 100 each under section 123(1) read with 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Section 123(1) states that no person driving or in-charge of a motor vehicle shall carry any person on the footboard, while Section 177 dealt with the penal action. Though the provisions sought to punish the bus crew, they were seldom invoked. When the traffic inspectors invoked the provisions on the orders of Superintendent of Police M.N. Mylvahanan, there was a hue and cry from the bus crew. STC Branch Managers requested him not to be too harsh, while some of the conductors used their clout with trade unions to thwart action. But the week-long drive yielded the desired results.

The conductors complained that they could not be strict on footboard travellers as it often resulted in altercations. They suggested introduction of closed-door buses.

The traffic police had intensified the drive during peak hours in the mornings and evenings, the SP said.

School and college students, travelling on footboard were being made to alight from the bus and their behaviour was reported to their parents and the school and college authorities to ensure that they do not travel on footboard in future. Other offenders were imposed spot fines, he added.

“The whole exercise is to create awareness of the danger of footboard travelling and not intended to harass anyone,” the SP clarified. The drive followed the High Court issuing directives to curb footboard travel, following the death of four students who were travelling on the footboard of a State Transport Corporation bus in Chennai in December last. They were crushed to death when they were caught between the bus they were travelling and a lorry.