Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tight schedule leads to mishap

Tight schedule leads to mishap
Kaushik Chakravarthy , Oct 3, Bangalore:

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) fleet which includes Vajra, Vayu Vajra, Big10, Parisara Vahini or Pushpak have together accounted for over 250 deaths in a little over two and a half years and a little over 900 have been injured in accidents directly involving the buses.

Beginning from January of this year to the end of August, BMTC buses have been directly responsible for 50 fatalities in a total of 294 road accidents. While it is easy to dismiss all of these cases as irresponsible driving, the men behind the wheels of these public carriers tell a different tale.

Drivers from several of the busiest routes say that these mishaps occur mainly due to the unscientific and unattainable time-schedules.

A driver who has been on one of the busiest routes for 27 years says “The time-schedule on many of the routes are the same as 20 years ago. With today’s traffic, we are under pressure to reach our destinations.”
This he points out as the main reason behind violation of traffic rules as the drivers are sometimes even penalised with salary cuts. Another driver says that hectic driver booking along with a drop in the staff-schedule ratio is to blame for hazardous driving.
“If there is a driver shortage we are double-booked many times and have to do consecutive shifts.” he says.

Manjunath, who is part of a drivers union, says that the change in staff schedule ratio a few years back has compounded the problem.
“In the name of cost cutting they have reduced the staff-schedule ratio for each route from seven to five. Now there are five people including drivers and conductors on each route for two shifts” he says.

Add to all this, the drivers are also asked to conserve diesel and the allocation of diesel is limited to each of these routes.
“People who make these rules do not understand the road jams, the traffic chaos, and on top of all this we have memos saying that diesel has to be saved and additional diesel will not be given,” a driver says.
Each driver has to do 10 trips a day (five in each direction) through roads choking with vehicles, make-shift and jammed bus-stands, and poor roads, he said.

* Time-schedule for many routes outdated.
* Re-booking of drivers during driver shortage
* Decrease in staff-schedule ratio
* Diesel restrictions


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