The State Transport Department issued a set of guidelines for private bus operators on Friday and warned them against violating permits. A statement from the department said drives would continue in order to catch violators who endanger the safety of passengers.
The guidelines come barely two weeks after a horrific incident in which 45 passengers on a Bangalore-Hyderabad private bus were charred to death after the bus caught fire near Hyderabad. They include instructions to submit a copy of passenger lists to the department every quarter andto restrict drivers’ duty to eight hours.
Other guidelines make it mandatory for every public service vehicle to be equipped with an emergency exit. They put the onus on drivers to inform passengers about safety measures to be followed in case of emergency.
“Before starting the journey, information is to be provided orally or through videos to passengers,” the statement says.
The transport department’s checks will also ensure that only passengers’ personal luggage is on board. No commercial goods or items which do not belong to passengers will be allowed. The carrying of chemicals, inflammable or hazardous goods will not be permitted.
The operators will also have to note details of passengers like address, age, gender, starting point and destination in triplicate. While one copy will be kept at the office of the operator, another must be kept on board. The third copy will be submitted to officials once in four months.
The guidelines also make it mandatory for operators of newly registered transport vehicles to fit speed governors on the vehicles limiting the speed to 65 kmph.
However, there remains some ambiguity as the statement specifies this rule only for ‘certain classes of newly registered transport vehicles’. A spokesperson for the transport department said they would refer to a notification dated 17 September 2011. The notification makes it mandatory for all stage carriages, contract carriages with capacity exceeding eight, private service vehicles, omni buses and tourist vehicles, for which permits were issued in the State, to install speed governors.
However, as per a Central government notification issued on December 31 last year, vehicles carrying a State, national or tourist vehicle permit are exempted from installing speed governors.