Despite a Supreme Court ban on sleeper-class buses—popularly known as entertainment coaches—over 10 such buses bearing numbers of different states can be seen plying on the roads around the railway station and the bus stand in the city.
To dodge any punitive action against them, owners of these buses have scheduled the timings of buses during the late night hours.
Reliable sources say notorious drivers and conductors in these double-decker buses, having sleeping arrangement for passengers, also ferry illegal baggage and sometimes, even steal passengers’ luggage—taking due advantage of the darkness.
An official from the roadways revealed, “Double-decker buses were banned long time back, but some people are still ferrying passengers, probably, in connivance with the influential ones. These buses bear numbers of states like Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, etc. and are running between long routes.”
He also added these buses were unsafe to travel as they were covered with curtains from all directions with no glass at the rear-clearly violating the SC guidelines. Surprisingly, all this is happening under the nose of traffic cops and they usually act as mute spectators.
One of the passengers in such as bus, said, “I boarded the bus because I had to reach my destination on time and found no other bus at that time.”
He also admitted that conductors in these buses also overcharge from passengers and revealed mostly young unmarried couples travel in such buses to indulge in nefarious activities.
When contacted, district transport officer (DTO), Anil Garg, said, “Before elections, we had nabbed six such buses but we had to stop the drive considering the general elections in May. We will soon resume our drive and violators will not be spared.”
Harjit Singh, assistant commissioner of police (traffic), responded, “I have been notified by subordinates deputed on the night duties about the illegal practices going on in such buses.”
“I have also been told that owners of these buses do not have the permit to drive in the seroutes. We will be deploying moving check-points and confiscate all those illegal vehicles plying in the city,” he added.