Crude behaviour behind the wheel

Crude behaviour behind the wheel

Rash driving

Crude behaviour behind the wheel

The public almost lynched the bus driver, who had to be rescued by the police. Recently, the BMTC ran over a pedestrian who died on the spot.

Why do the BMTC buses hold the image of ‘killers’? One reason pointed out is that the BMTC drivers are perpetually speeding to meet the number of trips within a shift, resulting in accidents.

The BMTC officials claim that the drivers are recruited only if they meet certain guidelines set by the BMTC and that they are given regular training on maintaining discipline on the roads. The traffic cops say that cases of ‘rash and negligent’ driving are regularly booked against erring drivers.

Metrolife interacted with BMTC officials, traffic police and ordinary people to understand why in popular perception, the BMTC buses are seen as enemies of the people. K R Srinivas, managing director, BMTC, is quick to point out that the numbers of fatal deaths and accidents because of BMTC have reduced in the last few years. The BMTC buses cannot exceed 30 to 40 km per hour within the City limits.

“The drivers are recruited only after they pass a test that requires them to adhere to strict driving rules. There are sensor tracks and the drivers will have to drive on those tracks. The test is computerised and nothing is done manually. Those who appear for the test are marked on 50 and only those who have scored 45 and above have been recruited thus far,” explains Srinivas.

“We also insist that the drivers must have a heavy duty licence and have more than two years of driving experience,” he adds. He further points out that the licences of those who are found guilty of rash driving or breaking the rules are suspended with immediate effect. Srinivas informs that regular training is imparted to the drivers, wherein emphasis is laid on lane discipline.  

Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic & Safety) M A Saleem also observes that the fatal deaths caused by BMTC have reduced from 90 in 2010 to 59 so far this year. He also says that this year, about 10,517 cases of rash and negligent driving have been booked against BMTC drivers. “I think BMTC drivers are more disciplined now when compared to a few years ago. Every bus has to make a particular number of trips everyday and a certain time is alloted for each trip. The drivers tend to rush to meet these trip deadlines. That’s when we find them speeding,” informs Saleem.  

The officials may make tall claims about strict enforcement but people have nothing positive to say about BMTC drivers. Sreeparna Roy, a student of Mount Carmel Institute of Management who travels by BMTC buses regularly, says that she has gotten used to poor service, rude behaviour from bus conductors and even overcharging.

“The BMTC drivers are rash, crude and rude both in their body language and talk. Thanks to their driving style, you’d be completely exhausted by the end of the ride,” she says.

Viswanathan, head of human resource department with Duo Associates, points out that BMTC buses don’t follow lane discipline and stop at random places.

“They have utter disregard for fellow travellers. Even the cops fear to catch the erring drivers and penalise them. The drivers feel that they are not governed by the rules. There is also a basic problem with the system,” he sums up.