With private buses docking at the bus stand for a longer duration than the permissible time limit, it has brought to the fore the alleged nexus between government employees and these operators. This is reportedly causing losses worth lakhs to the Punjab Roadways at Ludhiana depot.
As many as 250 private buses enter and exit the bus stand on daily basis, and as per sources, more than 80% of them stay in the bus stand for longer duration than the permissible limit.
According to the sources, the ill-practice of deliberately delaying the actual timings of buses had been flourishing for years now, and despite making several complaints to the authorities in the past, no strict action has been ensured.
One of the officials of Punjab Roadways, requesting anonymity, said, “The sole motive behind staying at the bus stand for longer duration is to eat out on timings and passenger base of buses of the subsequent timings.”
He added that it was the vested interests of higher authorities which were allowing such ill-practices flourish despite having a thorough knowledge of it. The buses that have the permission to stay for 5 minutes were spending more than 20 minutes at the bus stand.
The entry, exit and docking timing of buses at their respective bus stations are fixed according to their routes by the regional transport authority.
Balbeer Thind, one of the drivers, said, “This is a daily story at bus stand and the worse is when you ask a driver or conductor of these buses, they retaliate with an intention to fight. The situation has worsened with scenes of verbal spats growing between the employees of private buses and other buses. The higher transport authorities should intervene and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to tackle the issue of deliberate delaying of bus timing.”
Officials pass the buck
While the transport officials are busy indulging in passing the buck to take an escape route to avoid responsibility, the ill-practice is flourishing at bus stand premises with every passing day.
Rashpal Singh Makhu, general manager, Punjab Roadways, Ludhiana depot, said, “It is for the regional transport authority to keep a constant vigil on the staying of buses on the bus stand premises. It is also responsible for deciding upon stay timings of buses.”
Harmail Singh, secretary, Regional Transport Office, said, “It is the respective Punjab Roadways authority which is responsible to keep a watch on the timings of the buses at the bus stand.”