Beasts in the guise of buses

  • City Cribs | Damini Purkayastha, Hindustan Times
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 26, 2011 15:58 IST

Twenty people were severely injured and two died when a chartered bus fell off into a deep gorge earlier this week.
I don’t presume to know the intricacies of this particular situation, but I would like to know what the government is doing to make bus drivers understand that speeding is dangerous! Specially when there are double the number of people on board than the permissible limit.

How many buses are chalaaned in a day? Why aren’t conductors fined each time four people hang out of the bus? I’m sure you’ve seen those over-flowing buses that have ferried one too many passengers and now tilt permanently to one side. Why aren’t those buses impounded? A low hanging left side, with people falling out every time a speeding driver takes a sharp left turn — a common sight on the streets of Delhi, with buses and their passengers just around the bend from an accident.

Why aren’t these buses stopped? We’ve all heard stories about the ‘networks’ of buswallahs and how they bribe every cop on their route. Private buses compete among themselves, and often buses on the same route will speed against the devil to beat the other one from getting to the three extra passengers. If they come neck-to-neck at any point, the drivers hurl abuses at each other and step on the accelerator.

If talking on the cellphone while driving (which bus drivers do and always get away with) is a chalaanable offence, surely poking your head while driving at 85 kms per hour to tell another bus driver about his mother’s alleged sex life is a criminal offense. Lives of hundreds of innocent passenger are at stake and no one has the right to risk that for profit.

If not for the annoying tendency of Delhiites to put survival before safety, I would suggest boycotting buses till drivers comply — but we all have to earn our bread and butter.

Instead I recommend making use of those complaint numbers that some buses flash so arrogantly. Call and name the bus, number, time and place. Lodge the complaint with the nearest traffic policeman the minute you can. Cops have to justify each and every complaint made with them, even if they ignore five complaints about buses, they cannot brush 500 under the carpet.

Only if you stand up and voice your anger will you be heard. Chalaan those monsters till kingdom come and maybe, just maybe they’ll finally slow down.


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