Bengaluru

‘Drivers compete for passengers and are always in a hurry’

The bus accident near Jetti Agrahara in Koratagere taluk.

The bus accident near Jetti Agrahara in Koratagere taluk.   | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

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Residents of Tumakuru want authorities to rein in operators of private buses to Pavagada and Bengaluru

Last week, eight people died and 40 were injured in two separate accidents involving private buses in Tumakuru district, one near Jetti Agrahara in Koratagere taluk on October 30 and the other near Oorukere on November 3.

The accidents have raised questions about passenger safety in buses. Tumakuru already has the ignominy of the most number of accidents (2,265) and fatalities (766) in the State. Data from the Transport Department for 2018 shows that the district has the highest number of accident fatalities, even more than Bengaluru. A total of 766 people were killed and 2,405 were injured in 2,265 accidents.

A large number of accidents involve private buses, said police officials, who have identified 88 ‘black spots’ on the five national highways in the district.

Tumakuru is the gateway to 18 districts in north Karnataka. Labourers, construction workers, garment workers, farmers, unemployed youth, students, and entrepreneurs who run small businesses in their home towns from across these districts depend on the bus network to travel to Bengaluru for work. The schedules of buses are such that they pull into the State capital by morning. “By the time they hit Tumakuru, usually between 3 and 5 a.m., bus drivers are fatigued and drowsy,” said a police official.

Need for speed

Drivers of private buses are under pressure to pick up maximum passengers and to reach their destination as quickly as possible.

“More often than not they cross the speed limit,” said a policeman.

Nevertheless, passengers prefer private buses.

T. Ramanna, a teacher who travels from from Pavagada to Tumakuru, said, “I prefer a private bus as the fare is cheaper than KSRTC and it takes less time to reach Tumakuru.” He added that condition of KSRTC buses plying between Pavagada and Tumakuru is not good.

The fare from Pavagada to Tumakuru in a KSRTC bus is ₹65 and ₹60 in private buses. Private operators are known to reduce the fare for daily commuters to ₹50.

While KSRTC buses have speed governors, not all private buses are equipped with this.

Road Transport Officer S. Raju told The Hindu, “We will call a meeting shortly with private bus operators to increase the gap between private buses plying on the Tumakuru-Pavagada route.” Now the gap between buses is five minutes.

The police have called for more measures to tackle this problem. “Speed interceptors have to be put on that route to check the speed of vehicles. I have already sent a proposal to Madhugiri sub division,” said Superintendent of Police Dr. K. Vamsikrishna.

Anger among locals

One of the routes that sees the most number of accidents is the Tumakuru-Pavagada route. On Tuesday, Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sanga (KRRS), Dalita Samrakshana Samiti, Chatra Yuva Sangharasha Samiti and other organisations carried out a 26-km padayatra from Koratagere to the deputy commissioner's office in Tumakuru to demand a ban on private buses on the Tumakuru-Pavagada route and compensation for families of the deceased in both accidents.

Koratagere taluk convenor of KRRS Nayaz Ahmed alleged that the Transport Department is lax when it comes to adherence of rules by private buses. “During peak hours, people sit on the top of buses,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Dr. K. Rakesh Kumar announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh each to the families of the five people who died in the accident at Jetti Agrahara in Koratagere taluk of Tumakuru district.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 9:57:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/drivers-compete-for-passengers-and-are-always-in-a-hurry/article29890768.ece

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