THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following the recent incident where two passengers were attacked aboard a Kallada bus, the government has initiated strict action against erring inter-state private bus operators in Kerala.
Transport Minister A K Saseendran has issued directions to act sternly against private buses that do not ensure passengers’ safety. He has also instructed all private operators to equip their buses with speed governors and GPS.
In the recent inspection ‘operation night riders’ conducted by the Motor Vehicles Department at 10 check posts to track down the illegal services of private buses, it was found most of the services were operating illegally. Till Wednesday, the squad booked 259 vehicles for violating norms and charged them with a Rs 3.74 lakh fine. Inspection is still on at various places, said the transport minister. The MVD convened a high-level meeting on Thursday.
The MVD squad also monitored the functioning of various ticket booking agencies of these buses. “It has been identified the passengers have no direct agreement with the bus owners. Instead, they book tickets via various agencies. Such agencies should mandatorily have LAPT (Licensing of Agent for Passenger Ticketing). As many as 46 agencies were found functioning without a licence across the state and a stop memo has been issued to them. If they don’t submit the required documents within a week, the MVD will close down their offices,” said the minister. New guidelines will be made for issuing a licence to these agencies and they will be strictly followed, he added.
A 24x7 squad will be formed in all districts for the surveillance of contract carriage buses. It will include members of both police and tax departments, who will carry out inspections to find out contract carriage buses that illegally function as goods carriage.
Speed governors and GPS will have to be mandatorily fixed in all private buses. “Stern action will be taken against those private buses which don’t have GPS by June 1,” said Saseendran.