Inter-state bus travel far from satisfactory


The tragic bus accident at Khed in Maharashtra involving a Mumbai-bound bus in which 37 people were killed throws focus on a lot of factors that need to be corrected on inter-state routes.
Though it is reliably learnt that the bus must have fallen from over the bridge mainly due to ‘overspeeding’ as a result of which the driver lost control over it, boarding an inter-state bus from Goa has its own risks.
First and foremost, there is no decent inter-state bus stand at any of the cities in Goa. Once the bus leaves Mapusa city, its drivers are prone to consume hard drinks as the national highway from Karaswada uptil Patradevi is full of liquor joints, though as per law liquor joints along highways are ‘Not Allowed’. Traffic personnel however say that this aspect is for the excise department to consider as they issue licenses for these joints along highways.
There is usually no checking done for these night long route buses whether it is for drunken driving or for overspeeding.
The Mapusa traffic PI, Mr Salim Sheikh informed that traffic police can stop any bus at any time and can check the bus. He informed that considering the fact that there was no decent inter-state bus stand at Mapusa, the traffic police had limitations in checking these inter-state buses. He also admitted that due to staff shortage it was not always possible to check these buses once they left Mapusa bus stand.
Interestingly Mr Salim informed that earlier all details of the passenger regarding the name, address, home contact number used to be submitted by the travel agencies to the transport or traffic police but due to unknown reasons the system was discontinued.
“In such times of crisis details of the travelling passengers greatly help. Now with modern technology it should not be a problem for the travel agency to submit the passenger details to at least one major police station from where it is leaving. This can help identify victims in such cases so the system should be revived,” he felt.
According to the officer, the casualties were on the higher side as the accident occurred during ‘peak’ sleeping time and the passengers who passed away could have encountered a shock coupled with head injuries.  [NT]