A group of 22 government bus drivers who’s licensed were seized in December for speeding continues to ferry thousands of people across the Capital without valid papers, HT has found.
Police fined 22 Delhi Transport Corporation and cluster bus drivers and took away their licences during a two-day drive in December for speeding – an offence that mandated suspension of licence for at least three months. Authorities recommended the drivers be given refresher training courses on road safety.
But when HT visited city bus depots and sifted through duty slips, it found the 22 men continue to drive, compounding the speeding problem in a city where 106 people died in the past two years in accidents involving government buses.
Sample this –
Police fined DTC driver Ranjit Kumar for overspeeding bus DL 1PC 9669 on route number 972, and seized his license DL 0419810160946. When HT visited Peeragarhi bus depot on February 5 where Kumar reports for work , the duty slip showed he was assigned a bus route for the day.
Cluster bus driver Vinod Kumar was fined while driving bus DL 1PC 3568 on route number 534. His license (DL 819940099505) too was seized. On February 6 when HT visited the Millenium Park bus depot, the day’s duty slip showed Kumar was out with another bus.
Towards the end 2015 when fatal accidents by government buses increased to almost double the figure the year before, the traffic police launched a drive to check if drivers were speeding.
In 2015, the number of deaths by cluster buses rose to 25 from previous year’s 12. There were 30 deaths involving DTC buses as compared to 39 in 2014.
The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and Delhi Integrated Multi Model Transport system (DIMTS) run the DTC and Cluster bus services, respectively. Both report to the Delhi government’s Transport department.
During the two day drive on December 26 and 27 when 10 DTC drivers and 12 from DIMTS were caught, traffic police commissioner Muktesh Chander wrote to the chiefs of DTC and DIMTS, seeking action against drivers and urging them to send drivers for a refresher course ‘to enhance their concern for safety and observance of traffic rules.’
Highlighting figures of government bus fatal accidents, the top cop told the two organisations their drivers ‘are often found indulging in rash and negligent driving‘ and that these are cases where the drivers were at fault.
The top cop also sought to know from DTC chairman CR Garg and DIMTS rxecutive director M Ram Sekar how drivers were ‘able to overspeed, in spite of speed governors which are supposedly to be fitted in all these buses.”
HT tried to contact Garg and Sekhar but despite many phone calls and text messages they did not reply.
BLUELINE MENACE LED TO USE OF SPEED GOVERNORS :
The increasing number of fatal accidents by blueline buses around 5-6 years ago forced the government to make speed governors mandatory for all buses. Buses are not allowed to exceed 40km/hour in the city but during the two-day operation, traffic police found buses travelling close to 70-80 km/hr within the city. Some were driving at higher speed, said an officer.
“How are these drivers overspeeding if there are speed governors? A loss of 106 lives in two years is worrying. The government should ensure that drivers follow rules, else these buses will also be like the Blue line buses,” said a senior police officer.