Overcrowded buses put passengers’ safety at risk

Daily ordeal: Students travel in a jam-packed city bus in Kozhikode on Monday.  

Putting passengers’ safety at risk, a section of private bus operators has started conducting overcrowded trips to various locations with their passengers sandwiched between seats and aisles during peak hours.

Though city buses are allowed to have a maximum of 70 to 80 passengers at a time, some of the bus operators are letting in more than 100 passengers because of the poor surveillance measures in place.

On some of the routes where the violation is rampant, drivers justify their act saying that passengers do not have the required number of bus services. They also cite the cancellation of trips by Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses on some routes and the unavailability of taxi services.

Most of the overcrowded buses are plying on Medical College, Parambil Bazaar, Moozhikkal and Kannadikkal routes. Despite an increase in the number of freak accidents on the Medical College route, the violation remains unchecked.

The enforcement squad of the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) says carrying passengers beyond the permitted capacity can invoke a fine up to ₹5,000 and cancellation of permit in some cases. Passengers who travel in overcrowded buses can alert the MVD flying squads (helpline number 8281786094) for spot action, they point out.

“We have two flying squads and they will be soon asked to act on such complaints. The helpline number can be used at any time to exchange confidential information with the on-road enforcement wings,” says Regional Transport Officer (Enforcement) C.J. Paulson. One of the flying squads covering the city limits will act promptly on complaints, he adds.

However, commuters remain sceptical. “I have seen even policemen trying to help people board overcrowded buses along the city roads. Many of them endorse the illegal practice as if they are helping out stranded passengers,” says Rineesh Mathew, a college student.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 7:30:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/overcrowded-buses-put-passengers-safety-at-risk/article25100554.ece

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