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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Gang rape effect: Chartered buses off road, office-goers hit

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 25, 2013
First Published: 23:51 IST(25/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:54 IST(25/1/2013)

Reaching home after work has become an ordeal for 35-year-old Radha Sharma, who works in Connuaght Place.

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To reach her house in Shahdara, she has to first take the metro and then an auto-rickshaw. Not only is the journey difficult but expensive as well.

Till three weeks ago, Sharma used to reach home in an hour — she used to take a chartered bus, which dropped her right at her doorstep. She is among approximately 1.2 lakh people living in Delhi and NCR for whom flagging a chartered bus in the morning and evening was not only a convenient choice but meant reaching their workplace on time too.

After the recent gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in south Delhi, the traffic police and the transport department have cracked down on chartered buses. Many have been getting impounded and challaned for violating norms. After the action, less than 1,000 of the about 2,400-odd chartered buses are plying in the city now.

“Earlier I used to take a chartered bus from my office but now it has stopped coming, I now have to take metro, get down at Pitampura station and then take an auto or a cycle rickshaw to reach home. It is very strenuous and expensive too. I used to spend only R50 on daily travel but now I have to spend R100,” said Pratibha Kumari, who works in Connuaght Place.

However, transporters blamed the authorities for delay in implementation of new norms.

“The traffic police have been asking us to ensure that drivers have badges to drive public service vehicles (PSV) and get our drivers verified by the police. But it’s a lengthy process and takes at least 45 days. When we ask the transport department for badges, they pass the buck to the police. Even the cops are clueless about the procedure,” said Harish Sabharwal, general secretary of the Delhi contract bus association.

Sudhir Yadav, special commissioner (traffic), said verification of drivers living in Delhi-NCR takes just two weeks but those who live outside are hard to verify. “We’ve put mechanisms in place and are issuing PSV badges,” Yadav told HT.


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