MARGAO: The transport department on Tuesday warned private bus operators of suspending their permits if they do not stop overcrowding. The direction came a day after a student got flung out from a moving bus at Navelim.
Speaking to this daily, deputy director of transport Prakash Kholkar said that directions have been issued by the directorate of transport to crack down on erring buses which are allowing passengers beyond capacity.
He said that based on the directions, the department has issued directions to the enforcement team to crack down on the erring buses. Referring to Monday’s case, he said that it is evident that there was negligence on the part of conductor and the department will be sending notices to the concerned.
Replying to a question on public transport not being available in some remote areas, Kholkar said, “We have been working to address the issue and even KTC buses have been deployed on such routes mostly which do not get passengers other than that during the peak hours.”
Meanwhile, the president of South Goa Bus Owners Association Shailendra Phaldessai has appealed to commuters not to board crowded buses as public transport is available every five minutes. He said that even if the buses are full to capacity, the passengers still insist on boarding. He said most of the buses ply through villages and there have been instances where the conductors are even attacked by commuters for not taking them along.
Phaldessai said, “We have asked the conductors to close the door and not to take passengers once the bus is full. However, if the passengers insist we too are helpless.”
Another owner A Dessai said it is a double-edged sword for us adding, “if we do not allow students to board, they complain that they are being harassed by private bus operators and if we maintain the standing capacity of buses, the students will not reach school in time.” Dessai further said, “On the other hand if we accommodate the students and passengers we are charged of overcrowding the buses. We face a rush only during peak hours while rest of the day the buses move rather empty. If the buses maintain the standing capacity during peak hours, there will be a requirement of nearly 30 per cent more buses to cater to passengers while rest of the day they will have no passengers.”