To check the increasing number of accidents caused by rash and negligent Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus drivers, the City traffic police is requesting people to report errant drivers at their forum ‘Public Eye.’
Public Eye is an initiative that allows citizens to capture traffic law violators by using their mobile phones or cameras and upload pictures on www.bangalorecitytraffic.gov.in.
Details of erring vehicles will be processed by the Traffic Management Centre and vehicle owners will be served notice under Section 133 of Motor Vehicles Act.
“During 2012, BMTC buses contributed to 86 road accident deaths in the City. We have booked 60,666 cases, mainly for negligent driving, against 6,200 BMTC drivers the previous year. While we understand that these bus drivers work on a strict timeframe, we cannot let them compromise the safety of passengers,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) M A Saleem.
However, the BMTC, which operates over 80,000 trips each day, connecting different parts of the City, claims that it has improved the training standards of drivers by setting up a state-of-the-art training centre at Hassan.
BMTC Chief Transport Officer Nagaraju said, “One has to agree that the traffic infrastructure in the City is too complex. Also, with the skewed ratio of private vehicles within the City, it is difficult for our drivers to smoothly navigate from one corner to another.”
He defended drivers saying that most of them strictly followed traffic laws and those who did not would face action from disciplinary squads. These squads undertake surprise checks against drunken driving and other unethical practices by drivers while on duty.
A BMTC employee from the administration division, who did not wish to be named, said, “Every time, it’s not the fault of the BMTC drivers. There are many instances when private vehicles occupy the bus stop space, forcing the driver to park a little ahead of the designated place to allow commuters to board or alight. But the traffic police book drivers without even giving them a chance to explain.”
He said that there was also a “systemic flaw” that forces BMTC bus drivers to overspeed. “The trip sheet under which the BMTC drivers operate is outdated. For instance, according to a trip-sheet, a driver is supposed to cover the distance between Kempegowda bus station (Majestic) and Chamarajpet in 20 minutes. But, in the present traffic scenario, it’s common sense that this is not possible,” he said.
The BMTC said that it will soon formalise both vocational and soft skill training for its staff as part of their regular training so that drivers are motivated to follow traffic laws as a matter of ‘personal trait’ and not out of the fear of law.