BENGALURU: In the last two months, Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) found eight drivers talking or using their mobile phones on duty. The transport corporation decided to ban mobile use entirely while the driver is on duty, in mid-November. Despite eight cases being booked, no action has been taken. The corporation is attempting to clarify with the law department if the punishment has to be minor or result in suspension. According to NV Prasad, managing director of BMTC, the ban is working.
“Any passenger can complain if they spot a driver using their phones in the bus. Apart from that, we have our traffic staff inside buses. Disciplinary action will be taken against violators, ranging from penalty, cut of increment to warning or suspension,” Prasad said, adding that in some buses, conductors have the arrangement to hold the driver’s phone in case of an emergency phone call.
BMTC drivers say it won’t have an impact on violators but will make matters difficult for others who follow the rules. A few months ago, the management told the staff to use the BMTC option in the Karnataka mobile app. Customers can rate conductor behaviour, cleanliness and timeliness on the app.
BMTC driver Mahesh Gowda said, “They encouraged us to report, take pictures in case of accidents, issues and breakdowns. If there is a breakdown, we need to call someone to divert another bus route towards us. Now, we can’t do any of that.”
While he agreed that safety is an issue, he said that in times of emergency, they require their phones. “If there is a personal emergency, we will get to know and use our phone after completing an eight to 12-hour shift. They expect us to leave the phones in a locker room or a box in all buses,” he added.