Police to track down erring bus operators

A civil police officer inspecting a bus in Kozhikode on Sunday to ensure that the bus crew follow the safety guidelines.   | Photo Credit: K. RAGESH

The police, on the instructions of the District Disaster Management Authority, have intensified on-road enforcement in Kozhikode to track down private bus operators violating the COVID-19 protocol and facilitating entry of passengers beyond the permissible limit.

More flying squads are likely to be deployed for intercepting such vehicles. Drivers, conductors, and bus owners will be held accountable for violations during surprise inspections. Repeating the offence will lead to suspension of permit, besides slapping of hefty fines on operators along with other legal proceedings. For safety reasons, footboard travel in buses will not be permitted even as bus operators have opposed it citing poor revenue.

Since COVID-19 cases are on the rise, checking is in full swing covering bus stations and boarding points. Facilitating the entry of passengers who do not wear masks will also be treated as protocol violation. Besides, the bus crew will be responsible for disinfecting the vehicle after each trip.

Considering the heightened vigil, incident commanders appointed by the district administration have called upon passengers to ensure personal safety by strictly complying with the health protocol. They have also insisted that passengers should flag buses which are not operated in violation of safety rules.

Meanwhile, private bus operators are sore about the way things have turned out. According to them, stringent enforcement measures will only result in keeping buses off the road. Many bus owners are going through acute financial crisis which will worsen with the “inconsiderate” enforcement, they argued.

On the other hand, the police have made it clear that they are not targeting any particular segment, as there will be similar action against taxi drivers who violate norms. Only four persons are allowed in five-seater vehicles and six persons in seven-seater vehicles.

There is also a directive to strictly maintain a partition screen between the front and back seats for safety, which will have to be implemented for better protection, they said.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 1:07:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/police-to-track-down-erring-bus-operators/article34353109.ece

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