CHENNAI: SETC crew members are losing sleep over a recent move by the State-owned transport corporation which holds them responsible for protecting thousands of rupees from sneak thieves.
The SETC administration has done away with the existing procedure of depositing ticket fare collections at the destination depots since last month. Instead, the crew has to safeguard the money till the bus reaches the originating station the following day to remit the sum, leaving the collections vulnerable.
With alleged absence of safety lockers in the fleet or in resting rooms, conductors are now keeping their fingers crossed to shield the money by compromising on their rest time. This could have an impact on the safety of commuters, conductors assert.
According to a some crew members, there are instances of collections missing in a few depots, including Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram, recently.
“This decision has led to two ticket bundles and cash missing at Thiruvananthapuram. We are in a tight spot as the crew member would have to pay for missing cash and tickets of various denominations,” a Nagercoil based SETC conductor claimed.
Buses on long distance trips halt at the destination for specified hours and depart after picking up passengers the next day. SETC has few rest rooms for its crew in places like Chennai. Majority of SETC crew do double duty of conductors-cum-drivers, who have to manage issuing tickets and driving.
On an average, sources claimed, Madurai and Nagercoil buses bound for Chennai records ticket fare collection of Rs 10,000 and Rs 14,000 respectively, on normal days. It shoots up on weekends.
Apart from collections, the crew members are also responsible for ticket bundles worth up to Rs 50,000. While they keep the collection money and tickets in trunks that crew members carry, miscreants whisk away these boxes, leaving them liable to pay up for the entire loss.
Another crew member, who works on the Madurai-Chennai route, rued that they were forced to carry the trunks everywhere as facilities to keep the collections safe were not available. “Some conductors even take it along while visiting the rest rooms. Can you blame your colleague if collection goes missing at the rest rooms?” the crew member asked.
A SETC official said steps were being taken to solve the issue by appointing more security guards at restrooms. “Decision was actually made to reduce the burden on crew members,” the official said.