OVERLOADING, FREQUENT STOPS IRK AAM AADMI

Transporters could be planning another fare hike, but minibus ride continues to be inconvenient for passengers

ADIL BASHIR

Srinagar, Sept 6: Passenger buses plying on the City routes are often seen overloaded thereby risking life of people particularly the passengers while “frequent stops” is another problem in the travel.
 The overloading of minibuses mostly TATA 407 is almost a routine scene on the City roads. Be it Lal Chowk, Soura, the Boulevard or the south City highway between Parimpora and Athwajan, passengers are seen standing in the buses and at times virtually “hanging outside.”

THE COMPLAINTS
 Common man down the street is fed up of the overloading and frequent stops of the public transport buses. “The government had taken some steps to address the problem some time back, but left the issue half way,” said a student of Amira Kadal Higher Secondary School waiting for a bus to her native Chanapora.
 Passengers near Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) bus bay complained that they never get a seat from this spot in forenoons because the cabs reach the spot overloaded.
 The passengers blamed the authorities for allowing bus drivers to stop frequently.
 “They allow the bus drivers to stop at many places and resort to overload,” said a passenger.
 Referring to Traffic police a passenger argued: “They (cops) often bang lathis on buses to give an impression to the public that they don’t allow the bus drivers to stop at non designated stops. If they (cops) would really have been serious about the issue then how come drivers succeed in overloading their buses?”

HIGHWAY OVERLOADING MESS
 Similar are the complaints of passengers who board buses on the south City highway.
 They said a travel on the Athwajan - Parimpora highway was cumbersome even though some vital establishments like State Board of School Education (BOSE), SKIMS Medical College Hospital, and Nowgam Railway Station fall on the route.
 The passengers complained that the buses remain overloaded to neck and that they often have to reach the destination by “hanging on the bus exteriors”.
 “Even though men manage the risky ride, it’s difficult for women to get into an overloaded bus,” complained a Revenue Department official working at Bemina
  “Many especially, the women folk, prefer to walk on foot than board a passenger bus on this route because of overloading,” said locals of Bemina bypass.

RTO SPEAKS
 When contacted the Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Muhammad Anees didn’t buy the public complaints on overloading and frequent stops.
 He added that it was the job of  Traffic police department and other “enforcement agencies” to have a check on such issues.
 “Whenever I go for inspection, I don’t see any bus carrying overload of passengers,” the RTO told Greater Kashmir.
 He however accused the people of resorting to overloading. “The fault lies within the community…It has become the habit of people to indulge in overloading nuisance,” the official added.
 When asked about the public complaints that insufficient number of vehicles ply on the Athwajan – Parimpora route, the official declined to comment and dropped the phone.

POLICE SPEAKS
 The traffic police said it was trying to keep a check on the problem but expressed limitations due to shortage of workforce.
  “We do whatever is humanly possible for us. Only 250 men are there to man more than five lakh vehicles which ply on City roads,” said Superintendent of Traffic Police, Maqsood-ul-Zaman.
 He added that “our men are deployed at mere 80 points within the City.”
 He, however, accused the passengers of shielding the “erring bus drivers” when the men in blue swing into action.
 “Most of the times as we happen to Challan the accused for overloading the passengers come out of the bus and start raising hue and cry and virtaully stage protests against us,” the SP said.
 About fining, he said over one crore rupees have been recovered as fine for violation of traffic norms this year.
 “Most of the challans have been done on the commercial vehicles like TATA 407s and Sumos for overloading and other violations,” he said.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 6 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 7 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST




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