The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is cracking the whip on drivers causing accidents.
In an effort to bring down accidents involving its buses, it is even conducting training programmes, including a yoga camp, to help its drivers stay focused while driving.
In the first three months of this year, 20 people were killed and 56 injured in accidents involving BMTC buses. Last year, the number of fatalities was 66 and in 2012, it was 86.
BMTC Divisional Traffic Manager K Jagadeesh told Express that the corporation is serious about punishing guilty drivers. “Two drivers who were facing serious charges were removed from service in June last year. Yearly increments on salaries of 108 drivers involved in accidents have been put on hold,” he said.
In some cases, the department has also recovered compensation to be paid to the kin of the victim from the driver’s salary. In case of probationers, their service may not be confirmed and those drivers undergoing their four-year training will have to continue as trainees for another four years.
Meanwhile, the corporation has constituted a committee headed by a retired judge to conduct internal inquiries into accidents.
“We have already initiated departmental inquiry in some cases and action will be taken based on the committee’s report,” Jagadeesh said.
He said some drivers, however, have been booked despite not being at fault. The cases are being heard in courts.
Meanwhile, Bangalore City Traffic Police and BMTC have joined hands in getting feedback from victims’ families and share it with drivers. Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic and Security) B Dayananda said,”With nearly 7,000 buses, BMTC is the largest contributor to city traffic. We have already made a feedback system operational so that drivers become more careful on the road.”
More Measures Needed: Expert
Traffic expert M N Sreehari said such measures may not help reduce the number of accidents. BMTC operates nearly 7,000 buses and if its buses are involved in over 50 fatal accidents in a year, it is a serious issue, he said.
“The maximum speed for BMTC buses has been reduced from 30 kmph a few years ago to 15 kmph now. That factor has to be kept in mind while preparing daily trip sheets. The drivers are under stress and BMTC should conduct four-day camps to teach them meditation and other activities. Conducting one-day camps may not help,” he said.
Not Pressurising Anyone: BMTC
BMTC Managing Director Anjum Parveez said bus drivers are at fault only in around 30 per cent of the cases. “Accident cases are booked under the Motor Vehicles Act by the police and BMTC has no control over this. It’s a judicial matter and we cannot pressurise anyone,” he said.
He said he has written a letter to all drivers requesting them to be careful on the road and has also given instructions to depot managers to direct drivers to focus on the job.
He ruled out changing route timings at present as the pilot project of fixing GPS is underway. “Once all the buses are connected, BMTC will consider changing route timings,” he said.