With reckless driving of private buses resulting in two accidents inside the town limits in the last two weeks, demand has strengthened for stringent action against such lawbreakers.

Due to traffic congestion, most of the buses try to squeeze their way through the gaps. This often puts the life of the pedestrians and two-wheeler drivers in danger.

According to the records available with the motor vehicles department (MVD), 120 accidents involving private buses were reported in the district till the end of July this year. This is exactly double the number of cases in which KSRTC buses were involved in the same period.

On August 20, a migrant worker was killed near Baselius College Junction after a private bus hit him. Another pedestrian was injured on August 12 after he got stuck between two vehicles after a bus hit the rear of one of the vehicle at Market Junction. “MVD should keep a regular watch over the erring drivers,” said Sanal Kumar, a regular commuter. He said alcoholism has also become common among the staff and would become a serious issue soon. “Students are also being treated badly by the private bus operators. KSRTC should resume students’ only buses in selected routes,” he added.

MVD has also got strict orders from the transport commissioner Rishiraj Singh to conduct regular inspection in buses to ensure that rules are being followed. The department has formed special squads and has started inspection from Monday evening. “Stereo music system and air horns are not allowed in buses. Speed governors and doors are also a must,” said Prakash Babu, joint RTO.

“We will also be using breathalyzer test regularly,” he added. Bus Operator’s Association president Jayaraj said the rules were always in place. However, it was never strictly implemented. And also said that there is a rule that the town service buses should have pneumatic doors. “The new buses rolling out of factories come with pneumatic doors. The staff number could be reduced to two in such buses,” he added.

Meanwhile, the private bus operators in Cherthala-Vaikom route staged a lightning strike on Monday in protest of an alleged attack on the driver of a bus. According to the bus driver Abhilash, the owner of another bus, Thambi, hit him alleging that he delayed the trip. The incident happened at Nagmabadom Bus Stand around 7am. Police have registered a case.

Times of India