KOCHI: Despite the authorities shifting some bus stops along the Kochi Metro alignment in order to ease traffic congestion and to avoid the risk factor for commuters, private buses are still using unofficial bus stops to take in passengers.
For instance, both sides of North Overbridge, which lies close to the North railway station, are now used as bus stops by private bus operators. Though there is a legally permitted bus stop just a stone’s throw away, the buses are taking passengers from this unofficial stop.
This also creates a problem for smooth flow of traffic as there is no sufficient space for other vehicles to pass the buses while they stop for taking passengers. Sometimes, long traffic snarls are seen on Banerji Road because of this action of the buses. Passengers from the North railway station have a habit of taking shortcuts, worsening the situation, said a local man.
According to him, the situation often ends up in quarrels between drivers of buses of other vehicle due to the long traffic blocks. The blocks in the evening also cause trouble for the ambulances heading to various hospitals in the locality.
“People from the railway station find it suitable to board their bus from these illegal stops. I think the notices and circulars from the authorities are not being observed by the public,” said a vendor near the place.
Interestingly, even warnings by the Traffic Police have failed to rein in the illegal bus stop.
“Even though we strictly warn the buses and impose fines on them, they still repeat the same violations. The people coming from the North railway station are not willing to walk to the nearby RBI stop.” said a Traffic Police official.
It was last year that the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) announced new bus stops in the city owing to the construction of Kochi Metro Rail. Following this, the stops at Lisie Junction and near Judges’ Avenue road had been cancelled and a new stop announced near the gate of the Reserve Bank of India building.
However, the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) passes the buck to the Traffic Police. “So far, neither the civic bodies nor the Traffic Police have raised the issue with the department. Normally, it is the duty of the Traffic Police to take action against such types of illegal stops which cause traffic congestion. Anyhow, we will also look into the matter,” said K M Shaji, RTO, Ernakulam.
“It is the public who created this illegal bus stop. Normally, a bus will stop where people wave their hands to stop as it is their revenue. It is the duty of the police to take remedial action by setting up barricades,” said Suresh Oommen, vice-president, Kerala Bus Transport Association, Ernakulam district unit.