BEST drawing up rules to rein in unruly bus drivers

  • Kailash Korde, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 19, 2016 23:46 IST
According to sources, the Mumbai traffic police have sent more than 20 e-challans to BEST so far. (HT file photo)

‘Beware! Big brother is watching you on the city roads. Follow traffic discipline or face action’--- is what the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) is going to warn its bus drivers with, who are found to be rash, negligent and violate traffic rules.

The move came in after the public transport body started receiving several e-challans from traffic police for violating traffic rules, in the past few days. It is also in the process of framing new rules for taking action against traffic offenders and paying of fines.

According to sources, the Mumbai traffic police have sent more than 20 e-challans to BEST so far. Those are mainly for three kinds of traffic offences—speaking on the phone while driving, crossing the stop line at signals and not wearing seat belts. Among these, the maximum e-challans have been sent out for jumping signals or crossing the white line at before the traffic signals.

Till Monday, the Mumbai traffic police sent out 9,650 e-challans for selected traffic violations, since the launch of service from October 4. Since beginning of this month, CCTV network of over 4,500 high-end cameras became operational across the city. Capturing the images through the streaming videos of CCTV, traffic police are sending the e-challans on mobiles of traffic offenders. After receiving e-challan, the person needs to pay fine online or visiting traffic chowki, within a month.

In case of BEST, traffic police are sending e-challans to the undertaking instead of drivers. It has added to the troubles of BEST as it is forced to pay fines for traffic rules violated by their bus drivers. According to BEST sources, earlier the drivers used to pay fines directly to the police for traffic violations and BEST, therefore, was not bothered.

The BEST is now in the process of changing its rules to recover the penalty amount from the responsible divers. “After receiving the e-challan, we will find out the driver who violated the traffic rule based on the time slot,” said a senior BEST official. He added that BEST has also been spreading awareness among their drivers about the traffic police’s e-challan system, since last week.

“We are going to issue line notice for drivers that will be displayed on notice boards of every depot. Besides making them aware about the CCTV-based e-challan system, repeated offenders will be warned about action against them,” said another official. He added that the action taken against erring drivers can vary from departmental enquiry to suspension.

According to BEST officials, the e-challan system is expected to be a deterrent for the drivers who flout traffic rules.

Free rides for specially challenged

The loss-making Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has announced a free ride scheme for visibly impaired and physically challenged persons on all its buses barring the air-conditioned ones.

Under the scheme, free rides will be limited to city limit. For availing the scheme, beneficiaries will have to get radio-frequency identification-based smart identity cards from BEST depots by producing necessary documents, stated a BEST release.

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