BENGALURU: With 174 accidents involving Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), with 39 killed and 136 injured in this calender year alone, the transport service has earned the “Killer BMTC” title.
Increasing traffic makes it difficult to manoeuvre the large buses and keep to the schedule. So the drivers are stressed and lose their concentration, said transport experts.
Road traffic expert M N Shreehari, who lashed out at the BMTC for letting their drivers go scot-free, said, “Existing figures from Bengaluru City Traffic Police show that every month over 15 accidents are caused by BMTC. The transport minister and BMTC authorities cannot defend themselves saying the numbers are coming down. With every case, a family is left devastated.” Better planned schedules and training should help drivers keep to the speed limit, he said.
Vivek Menon, an expert in urban transport, said that the corporation too should be held responsible. “BBMP should give BMTC good roads,” he said. “Driving on potholes-riddled roads is quite a task and it increases stress on drivers”.
The transport service often tries to silence the victims with monetary help or by blaming them. Shivakumar an auto driver living in Kumaraswamy Layout was offered money. He was hit by a local bus on October 26 while returning home after shopping. He has been bed-ridden for three months since his right leg was fractured.
“I was the sole bread winner and because of this accident my family is suffering. My wife, daughter and niece were also injured but now they have recovered,” he said.
He said that after the incident few BMTC officials had come to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital and gave him a compensation of `25,000 for the treatment but the victims want the driver to be punished.
Sundar Murthy lost his 17-year-old daughter Poornima, a Mount Carmel College student, when she was knocked down by a bus in Majestic on October 20. “We constantly worry when our children step out, especially when they are near bus stations and bus stops since there is a possibility of getting killed,” said Murthy, with tears in his eyes.
He wanted to see his to be a high-ranking government officer, but this dream was cut short. “The authorities wanted to get away by saying that my daughter was walking on the wrong side, but my question is why did the driver fail to see the girl walking near the bus terminus,” he questioned.
The traffic department has sent a letter to BMTC chief asking them to discipline their drivers. Dr MA Saleem Additional Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru Traffic, has appraised BMTC and transport department of buses not stopping at designated points and of callous driving. “We have written to BMTC about training sessions on traffic rules by out policemen. Still we see poor response from the drivers since they continue to stop away from bus bays and break rules quite often. We still have hope and will continue to educate them by showing them what happens to victims.” Ekroop Caur, BMTC’s Managing Director, defended her department saying the incidents have come down when compared to the last few years. And she attributed majority of accidents to bad roads, poorly lit junctions and bad traffic sense of others such as pedestrians and two-wheeler riders.
About the recent incident in Majestic, she said that it was bus bay and every minute 22 buses cross this stretch. Poornima Murthy should have walked on the other side.