Transport dept to crack whip on errant whitelines
The transport department has decided to crack the whip on white contract carriage buses. Also known as chartered or whiteline buses, these buses are the biggest traffic rule violators in the Capital.
One such contract carriage bus had picked up the 23-year-old paramedic and her friend were picked from Munirka. It was on board that bus that she was brutally raped by six people, and later left to die.
About 2,300 in number, the buses violate permit rules by ferrying local passengers. Also, the traffic police issued more than 14,000 tickets to these buses for traffic offences in 2012.
According to a senior official, the transport department has also sought a list of buses which were either impounded or challaned by traffic police in the past one year. "There are about 1,500-1,600 such buses. We will first issue a showcause notice to the permit holders and then take action," a senior transport department official said.
The contract carriages are issued permits by the state transport authority to run the bus for specific purposes. Whiteline buses cannot run on bus routes and ferry local passengers and are are authorised to ferry school children, or office staff.
"But these buses have often been found displaying a temporary route number plate and picking passengers from bus stops," the official said. "The crew of these buses can be seen on DTC bus routes. They pick fights, threaten and beat DTC drivers who run buses on those routes," the official added.
Based on DTC's complaints, the state transport authority often took action against the contract carriage buses but transport department officials said they are now contemplating bigger punitive action.
While the transport department grounded that bus and cancelled permits of nine more buses and taxi run by the same travel agency, transport department officials accept that these buses are used for many other petty crimes, which have not come to the light so far.
"We have also received complaints that these buses are often used by people to consume liquor and drugs in the night. We are compiling a list and action will be taken soon," an official said.