Starting February 1, every bus that operates in the state, either with an all-Maharashtra permit or an all-India permit, will have to display driver details and other certification, along with helpline numbers and seating capacity, inside the vehicles.
The state transport authority (STA), the quasi-judicial body chaired by state transport secretary Shailesh Kumar Sharma, made this rule in a meeting held on December 4 last year.
The transport commissioner’s office communicated the new rules, but said operators will have to get the details endorsed from the STA or regional transport offices (RTO) by the end of this month.
Failure to follow the new rule, as a first-time offence, will entail a fine of Rs1,000 or suspension of permit for five days as departmental action (DA) under section 86 of Motor Vehicle Act 1988.
For a second-time offence, the operator will stand to lose the permit for 10 days or face a fine of Rs3,000, while a third offence will invite a 15-day suspension or Rs5,000 as fine.
Besides the details of permits, bus operators will have to display the helpline numbers of the police helpline, women’s helpline and RTO numbers in a clear, readable manner.
Additional transport commissioner and chairman of STA Satish Sahashtrabudhe said the move will help improve safety and security of passengers. “In case of an emergency, the passengers will be able to call the helpline. They will also be able to register complaints against the bus driver, if he is seen to be flouting rules.”
The Mumbai Bus Malak Sangathana, a body of city-based bus operators, protested the move, insisting that the decision was unilateral and that they had not been taken into confidence before making the rule.
“We are ready to implement any decision for the safety of passengers, but every time, the transport department is forcing its decisions on bus operators without a prior consultation,” said Harsh Kotak, a leader of the group.
What the new rules state:
* Bus operators will have to display a number of details inside the vehicles to ensure clarity to passengers
* Police Helpline
* Women Helpline
* Seating or Berth Capacity of Buses
* Permit details such as owners name, address, permit number, validity
* Driver’s details such as photo, name, address, license number