Passengers hanging along the doors and sitting on the rooftops of private buses is a common sight in the city. But despite the issue being highlighted several times, the overcrowding of buses is going unabated.
In a bid to maximise their profit, bus conductors and drivers continue to violate traffic norms by putting lives of thousands of passengers at risk every day. They pack their buses beyond the capacity, but authorities concerned are not taking any action.
Pakhowal Road, Ferozepur Road and the areas adjoining Jagraon Bridge are the most affected areas as buses on these routes can be seen overcrowded with passengers.
Jaswinder Kaur, a resident of Sham Nagar, said, "The issue of overcrowding in private buses has been widely highlighted in the past, but the menace of overcrowding buses has grown manifolds over the years and authorities concerned have acted quite passively on it. They have failed miserably to come up with a permanent solution to deal with the problem."
The private buses with a capacity of accommodating 43-45 passengers carry 65-70 passengers at a time. Some passengers even dangle on the doors of the buses.
Sometimes, when buses run out of seating space, passengers travel on the roofs of buses, thus putting their lives in danger.
Besides, residents of villages, including Lalton Kalan, Phullanwal, Jodhan-Mansuran, Bharat Nagar and Sham Nagar (near bus stand) have alleged that conductors and drivers of private companies misbehave with passengers.
The passengers of these buses often complain about the rash driving which have caused several road mishaps, but it hardly moved the traffic or transport authorities to take stringent action against the culprits.
On being questioned about the inaction of police on the overcrowding of private buses, a police official, requesting anonymity, said "Bus conductors of these private bus services work in connivance with politicians and when we try to issue challans against them, the politicians come in their favour."
Another passenger from Phullanwal village, Shamsher Singh, said, "There is tremendous increase in the number of passengers for the past several years. In order to accommodate passengers, the government needs to do smart planning so that overcrowding in the buses should be administered."
One the other hand, when approached, the conductors they said that it was unsafe to travel in overcrowded buses and passengers must act responsibly while boarding overcrowded buses.
Anil Kumar Garg, district transport officer (DTO), Ludhiana, said, "We conduct regular checks at various areas in the city and offenders are issued challans on the spot. Moreover, the passengers themselves should ensure their safety by not boarding overcrowded buses."