Off-loading of passengers from overcrowded bus criticised

Udupi Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadeesha made passengers de-board from overcrowded buses at Santhekatte area in Udupi on April 19, 2021.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Monday’s action by Udupi Deputy Commissioner in getting excess passengers from an overcrowded bus offloaded at Kallianpur-Santhekatte for defying COVID-19 protocol came under severe criticism after the video of a student airing her difficulties went viral on social media platforms.

The girl, apparently an undergraduate student, said that she went to her college in Udupi as there was a semester examination. “Otherwise, I would have stayed home,” she said. There are very few direct buses to her place, Shiriyara near Siddapura, from Udupi operating at a frequency of about half an hour each. “Every bus during the peak hours get overcrowded and getting us off the bus without offering any alternative arrangement was inhuman,” she lamented.

The girl also said that even the next bus to her destination came fully packed and there was little chance of her reaching home before nightfall.

In a surprise drive on Monday evening, Deputy Commissioner G. Jagadeesha flagged off a private bus operating from Udupi to Siddapura in Kundapur taluk at Kallianpur-Santhekatte and made passengers travelling standing to alight. They included many women, students and the elderly. Besides imposing fine on the bus operator for violating COVID-19 protocol, Mr. Jagadeesha also asked the conductor to refund fare to passengers who were off-loaded.

Though keeping a check on occupancy in buses was good in view of the spread of the pandemic, the administration should have made elaborate plans to enforce the rule, said those responding to the girl’s video. Some said checking should be done at the starting point of the service instead of midway so as not to inconvenience passengers. The administration should also ensure that adequate buses were available for passengers to follow norms.

Sufficient buses

Meanwhile, Udupi Additional Deputy Commissioner B. Sadashiva Prabhu said that the administration has asked the Transport Department to ensure buses operated at high frequency during morning and evening peak hours. Enough buses already operate on the said route and there was no need for overcrowding at this juncture, he said.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 3:45:50 AM |

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