Travelling on the edge

Travelling on the edge

Dangerous act

There was a time when hanging from the footboard of speeding BMTC buses was a style statement.

But thanks to BMTC initiatives to install automatic pneumatic sliding doors and traffic police drives, footboard travelling has reduced over the years but not completely eliminated. Young boys are still found clinging to the footboards once in a while.

 The trouble is that most BMTC buses with pneumatic doors have become so old that the mechanism just does not work.

The BMTC drivers have been asked to shut the door as soon people enter the bus. But BMTC authorities observe that sometimes people too force the driver to keep the door open or stand by the door and refuse to budge.

Metrolife interacted with the traffic police and the BMTC officials to understand why footboard travelling is still prevalent. We also asked regular bus travellers why they continue to hang on to the footboard.

According to the statistics available with the Bangalore Traffic Police, cases of accidents due to footboard travelling were 564 in 2007, 99 in 2008, 49 in 2009, 76 in 2010 while 2011 saw 83 cases. There’s a sharp decline in the numbers of footboard accidents but the trend persists. The Bangalore City Police have now woken up to conduct enforcement drives to reduce the cases of footboard mishaps.

 “We have booked cases of travelling on footboard as an offence under section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act that accommodates any other offence other than those prescribed in the Motor Vehicles Act. We have also booked cases of public nuisance under section 92 of the Police Act. There is no separate category for footboard offences but we have booked people under these two cases,” explains M A Saleem, additional commissioner of police (traffic and safety).

Saleem further points out that the cases of footboard travelling are prevalent in K R Puram, Dasarahalli, Jalahalli, Tumkur Road and it’s visible during peak hours. “A fine of Rs 100 is levied on offenders but this doesn’t seem to deter them from repeating the offence, so we have decided to take this issue seriously,” adds Saleem. 

K R Sreenivas, managing director, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) says, “Most buses have automatic pneumatic sliding doors that must be shut after people enter but we have also observed that drivers don’t do it and even people don’t allow the doors to be shut. People don’t listen when asked to move away from the doors and insist on getting off wherever they want to. This must stop.” Sreenivas informs that there will be more newer buses with automatic pneumatic sliding doors plying in the City very soon.  

Regular BMTC travellers say that they’ve seen a lot of people run after a moving bus and even jump off one. Sreeparna Roy, a management student, avers that most new BMTC buses have automatic pneumatic sliding door but they remain defective or remain open.

“There’s a risk of falling off moving buses if the door remains open. Passengers must be more cautious than the drivers and refrain from travelling on the footboard,” she says. Sreyas Krishnan, an IT professional recalls that as a student she travelled more by buses but now she doesn’t travel that often. “I still find people running after a moving bus and I have always wondered why the BMTC authorities don’t increase the frequency of buses in certain areas. This, I feel, would reduce footboard travelling,” she says.

Neeta Nithyananda, a civil engineer points out that the chances of falling down are more if the doors remain open, “A sudden brake and it could cost the life of a person standing on the footboard. There are also a few people who stand by the door and get down wherever they want to,” she sums up.