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Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

When speeding kills...

THE COMPETITION between private stage carriage operators for passengers is jeopardising the safety of road-users, particularly pedestrians, in the city. On Thursday, a 54-year-old KSRTC employee, M. Muhammad Basheer, was killed when he was hit by a private bus at the city bus stand at East Fort.

According to the traffic police, the accident occurred when one private bus tried to overtake another proceeding on the same route for getting a head start on its `rival'. Basheer who was regulating the KSRTC buses at the bus bay was caught under the wheels of the speeding vehicle.

The competition between buses is apparent at crowded bus stops in the city. The buses follow no queue system at the stops. The bus coming up from behind often races to park itself in front of its rival. With commuters spilling over to the road at most stops, the racing between buses has become a major traffic safety concern among the public.

According to the police, more than 100 private buses are operating in the city. The competition for collection is so intense that stage-carriage operators are known to pay incentives to `fast' drivers who collect the most number of passengers and make the most number of trips on the route allotted to them. However, private bus operators say that rising fuel prices and refusal on the part of the Government to permit a hike in ticket rates have forced them to look at other ways for making profit. ``With educational institutions re-opening, most of the commuters are students who travel on concession,'' they say.

In 1999-2000, the police had devised a method to check over-speeding of buses. This was by instructing policemen to check the arrival time of a bus at a particular bus stop and compare it with timing schedule and trip sheet prepared by the transport authorities. A senior official says the police would revive the system to `discipline' the drivers. When contacted, the City Police Commissioner, Balaram Upadhyaya, said the police would convene a meeting of private bus operators and representatives of motor vehicle employees unions to discuss the issue of over-speeding. He said the traffic police had been asked to crack down on over-speeding.

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