Repeated accidents — both fatal and those leading to serious injuries — in the city due to passengers standing on footboards or right next to the doors of private and government buses have made Lalbazar officers sit up and take notice. The police have now decided to crack down on ‘footboard travel’ and plan to send certain recommendations to the transport department.
According to the police, the recommendations likely to be made include closing doors of moving buses, using bigger rear-view mirrors and manning of gates by a bus employee. Cops will initially ask the passengers of a crowded bus to get off if they feel there is a risk. Cops said they will now educate both bus operators and passengers in this respect.
A recent analysis has revealed 19 accidents in the past two months happened due to passengers either getting off moving buses or coming in front of a bus after standing on the footboard and falling off. The last such accident, before the one that happened on Friday, had a 46-year-old tailor losing his arm after it was ripped off when his elbow got caught between the vehicle and a building. He, too, was standing on the footboard of a government bus that was negotiating a narrow and congested road in Haridevpur.
“We will begin a special drive in this regard. The aim is to inculcate the best practices,” said DC (traffic) Santosh Pandey. The police said they will be speaking to transport experts and even bus manufacturers in this connection. “The AC buses are the best option. But it is the private sector that we want to regulate,” said an officer.
A senior transport department officer said they can merely advise the private bus employees to maintain vigil at the gates. “The Motor Vehicles Act does not allow us to fix door policies. Given the make of buses at present, shut doors is not a feasible option,” said an officer.
Tapan Banerjee of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate said they were open to increasing the security of passengers. “The closed-door policy is not feasible, but we can certainly install larger rear-view mirrors. The helpers used to be our backbone at the gates, but rising costs and government apathy has forced us to abandon that system,” said Banerjee.
“Several measures — from organizing special squads to carry out random checks on the road to keeping tabs on bus drivers and holding them accountable — have been initiated. We need some more time for these steps to bear fruit,” said an IPS officer.
The police had earlier prepared a database of commercial bus drivers. “Unlike in the past when we concentrated on traffic offences committed by one vehicle, we will concentrate on the offences committed by the bus driver. Thus, identifying repeat offenders will become easier and more scientific. But now, with drivers delegating duty to conductors and helpers, this purpose of noting down their numbers might get affected,” said a senior cop.
Source: Times of India