HYDERABAD: With most city buses carrying full length ads on their rear windows, safety and rules have gone for a toss. As the state gears up to honour its most responsible public transport drivers as part of the ongoing Road Safety Week, it would do well not to ignore the RTC’s callousness in handing out contracts for ad space on city buses overlooking certain provisions in the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 (CMVR).
As per sub-rule (2) of Rule 100 of the CMVR, ‘The glass of the windscreen and rear window of every motor vehicle has to be such and be maintained in such a condition that the visual transmission of light is not less than 70 per cent’. But a majority of RTC operated buses which permit ads on them, have been found to be flouting these norms. More than 50 per cent space of the rear window in most cases is covered with flex ads, while in some cases a blanket of flex covers the entire rear mirror; in the process blocking vital visual sight for the driver and also passengers standing in the rear.
“We are aware about the CMVR regulation. But the RTC has not mentioned such a clause in the tender agreement, due to which we take up the space as required for our purpose”,said the owner of an ad agency, which has a five year contract with the APSRTC for placing ads on the outside/inside of buses. And true to his claim, the contract agreement of the RTC doesn’t hold any guidelines on the 70% visual transmission clause. He also hinted that in all probability the RTC had received the green signal from the state RTA to go against the regulation.
But G Panduranga Rao, Jt Transport Commissioner while agreeing that the RTA had allowed rear mirror ads, denied in the same breath, that permissions had been provided to violate the CMVR clause. “Yes, rear window ads are permitted, but the agencies have to adhere to the 70 per cent light transmission rule. We will surely look into the violation within a week and ensure all ad agencies and buses stick to the set norms.” In addition, Venkateshwar Reddy, Chief Commercial Manager, APSRTC also denied knowledge of having given permission and promised an enquiry into the same.
The passengers though, have a mixed reaction to the same. While some like Raman felt that the rear mirror was an important tool to take reverse during peak traffic hours and congested alleys, Shaheen, a conductor with a JNNURM bus felt otherwise. “When the bus is heavily crowded we cannot walk towards the end of the bus to give directions looking through the rear mirror. We need to step out for the same. So it doesn’t make a difference if the rear window is covered with ads or not. If in this manner, the RTC gets some extra income why should we protest?”
Excuses apart, the same attitude as above, seems to be responsible for the officials to sleep on the issue so far.
Currently over 3500 buses of different segments ply the twin city roads, of which ads are permitted on all except the JNNURM A/C Volvo buses.