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PASSENGERS PACKED LIKE SARDINES AS OFFICIALS LOOK THE OTHER WAY

PANAJI: The buses plying in the city and the surrounding areas remain overcrowded. Children and women being crammed in buses, besides the people travelling on the footboards of buses are common sights.
The city bus operators continue to violate the rules laid due to the negligent attitude on the part of the traffic police and RTO officials.
They could be seen monitoring the movement of buses only in the evening.
No checks are being carried out regularly to stop overcrowding in the buses.
Many passengers, especially, women have disclosed about their fear of traveling in the overcrowded buses. They maintained they never want to travel in overcrowded buses, but they are compelled to do so in the absence of a good transport service.
This reporter found that buses make frequent halts to pick up the passengers until they are overcrowded and this often result in commuters reaching their destinations late.
At places like Taleigao, Panaji, Chimbel, Mala, Porvorim and Miramar, the buses are often found making unauthorised stops to pick up a large number of passengers, particularly, in the morning and the evening.
The buses halt at the bus bays for more than the stipulated time, and get going only after the other buses reach the bays and keep honking for the first one to move on.
A gap of 10-15 minutes is reported between every two buses; buses are seen lined up, especially, at the KTC bus stand, opposite Dempo House and at the market area as they get into the race of carrying as many passengers as possible.
Interestingly, the traffic cops move away moment they notice the buses halting for a long duration in violation of the set rules.
Although every bus displays the number of standing passengers allowed, which depends upon their intake capacity, but the bus conductors are seen “pulling in” a large number of passengers.
When questioned over overcrowding, the bus operators stated that “we suffer losses, and there is no support from the government whatsoever. To meet the cost overruns, we have to ferry more passengers.”
It may be recalled that last year the Goa Human Rights Commission (GHRC) had taken a suo motu cognizance of the problems faced by the female commuters while traveling in buses, and subsequently had recommended to the transport department to ensure the buses are not overcrowded to do away with the humiliation and sexual harassment suffered by the women passengers at the hands of some male passengers.
Responding to the recommendation of the GHRC, the director of transport department Arun Desai had submitted an action taken report stating the enforcement wing regularly conducts checks to minimize incidents of overcrowding, and also forwarded a public notice published in newspapers on March 15, 2013 requesting the passengers not to board a bus which already has standing passengers as per the capacity.

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