IT IS because of lack of will on part of traffic police and Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS) officials to stop and prosecute VIPs that they have a free run in bus lane of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor.
Though only buses and public service vehicles on emergency duty are supposed to use the bus lane, bureaucrats, policemen, elected representatives and army personnel move freely in the segregated lane.
Both the traffic police and DIMTS officials accepted that it was difficult to classify who is in an emergency and thus do not stop vehicles which have beacons or influential people sitting in them.
“How do we know whether the person in a government vehicle is in an emergency? We can't stop each and every vehicle and check. But we do ensure that the registration number of the vehicle in the wrong lane is noted and notices served on their owners,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) S.N. Shrivastava said.
The traffic police challaned 1,982 vehicles for plying in wrong lanes on BRT corridor between July and December in 2008. Though Shrivastava insisted that some of these vehicles belonged to VIPs, he did not have the figures to support his claim.
A senior traffic police officer, unwilling to be quoted, said a government vehicle or a car with beacon entering the bus lane is let go freely and registration numbers of only private cars are taken down and notices sent.
Shrivastava also said that it was for traffic marshals (deployed by DIMTS) to guide motorists to their right lanes.
DIMTS officials, however, said it was difficult for them to act tough for lack of statutory powers.
“Unless we have the power to prosecute, we can’t do much. Our marshals deployed at the corridor are only facilitators. Only traffic police or the enforcement officers of transport department can fine them. These two departments have to see that only those vehicles authorised to move in bus lane enter the segregated lane,” said a DIMTS official who did not wish to be named.
Delhi transport commissioner R.K. Verma, however, said DIMTS is the corridor operator and it is for the agency to manage it. “DIMTS has to ensure that vehicles stick to their lanes and bus lane is strictly used by buses and emergency vehicles,” Verma said.
“It can deploy more guards to ensure order on BRT corridor,” he added.