Regional Transport Authority Can’t Get BMTC To Remove Ads on Its Buses
Vinay Madhav | TNN
Bangalore: Regional Transport Authority (RTA) officials never had it so tough. While they have managed to stop all private and government vehicles from displaying advertisements, they’ve found the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) a tough nut to crack.
They’re armed with an Act of law, a high court ruling and a Road Safety Authority (RSA) decision which prohibits display of ads on vehicles as these could distract other drivers. However BMTC buses, especially the Volvos, continue to display huge ads.
What’s worse, government ads with huge photographs of chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and transport minister R Ashoka are on almost all buses plying towards IT corridor areas like Whitefield and Electronic City. Interestingly, BMTC managing director Syed Zameer Pasha says he’s unaware of this blatant flouting of rules.
Rule 127(1) of the Karnataka Motor Vehicle Act prohibits display of ads on private or public transport vehicles without permission from the Regional Transport Authority.
In 2005-06, RSA prohibited advertisements, stating they distracted other drivers and leading to accidents. The decision was challenged in the high court but the court upheld the RSA decision.
The RTOs began enforcing the decision on private vehicles, including those purchased by companies to transport their own products. Even autorickshaws and other goods carriers belonging to pickle, detergent and other products were forced to remove ads after RTOs started levying fines.
The RTA allowed corporate ads on Volvo buses, subject to certain conditions and collected an annual fee of Rs 10,000. When private companies objected in 2009, RTA cancelled the conditional permits.
This didn’t deter BMTC and repeated reminders by RTOs didn’t have any effect. Though RTOs were asked to book BMTC buses, they dared not since they had photos of the transport minister and chief minister! The RTOs decided not to give fitness certificates to Volvo buses with ads. That’s when BMTC officials got creative. They used removable ad material without using glue. “Once they get the fitness certificate, they fix the ad back. What can we do about it?’’ asked an RTO.