With the government accepting the demand of the bus operators for a hike in the travel fare and also providing them with a bonanza in the form of insurance scheme for the drivers and conductors, subsidy for purchasing new tyres and the introduction of e-ticketing, the bus operators have now assured a change in the behaviour of the drivers and conductors towards the commuters.
By providing benefits to the bus operators, the government has virtually answered their prominent query of economic viability of their business.
“What has not happened in the last seven years will happen in the next two months. Commuters will see a change in the behaviour of private bus operators,” assured Mr Purshottam Halankar, president of the newly formed Goa State Private Bus Owners Association. He said that since the government has accepted their demands, it is their duty to bring in some discipline amongst the conductors and drivers.
He further said that the bus operators have been briefed about how to behave with women and student commuters. He also said that they have been instructed not to overcrowd buses.
Overcrowding of buses is a common scene anywhere in the state and the buses usually do not follow the rules regarding bus stops and timings. The drivers of many of these transport buses drop and pick passengers as per their desire. Rules regarding issuance of tickets and wearing of uniform by drivers and conductors are also not followed.
“We expect an improvement in their behaviour and to ensure that, we will conduct a special drive shortly,” said the Transport Director, Mr Arun Desai. He said that during the special drive, stress would be laid on ensuring that there is no overcrowding of buses. He also said that the drive will ensure the issuance of tickets, wearing of uniform by drivers and conductors, reservation of seats for women and courteous behaviour by conductors.
Mr Desai said that overcrowding of buses is a major issue that has remained unsolved and added that it could be taken care of with the help of passengers. “Overcrowding is reported on routes where buses are plying every five minutes and we fail to understand why commuters prefer particular buses only,” he said. He further said that if the commuters feel harassed, they are free to call the helpline by mentioning the bus registration number, route and timing. Mr Desai assured that bus operators violating the rules would be dealt with an iron hand and that the transport department would go to the extent of cancelling their permits.
“Economic viability of the business was a major concern of the bus owners and with a hike in the fare, and other schemes, the issue has been resolved. Hopefully, things will improve now,” said Gaurang Palandikar, a student representative from the Goa University. He said that the students will now have to wait and watch as they expect better behaviour from the bus conductors.
“The transport department should organise a training programme for conductors and drivers on the code of conduct for behaviour and safe driving,” said Mr Rolan Martins. He said that the bus operators should provide a list of names of the drivers and conductors to the transport department, as often bus drivers and conductors keep on changing the buses. [NT]