A private bus driver sports a khaki uniform in Jamshedpur on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Good news ladies, you can look forward to some comfort while travelling by bus.
East Singhbhum traffic police, who recently introduced a panoply of security reforms from dress code to identity tags for drivers and conductors, have now issued a circular directing 40 per cent reservation of seats on private buses for women.
Around 125 private buses — popularly known as mini-buses — ply along 14 routes across the steel city and carry more than 100,000 passengers on any given day. Most of these buses have the capacity to seat up to 30, which means 12 of them will, henceforth, be reserved for the fair sex. Till now, all seats were general.
The circular, issued from the office of DSP (traffic) Rakesh Mohan Sinha, has asked proprietors to distinctly mark the reserved seats with the word ‘ladies’ to avoid confusion and chaos on board. The fiat also states that action will be taken against bus employees — and a fine of Rs 500 might be slapped — if a man is allowed to occupy a seat reserved for women.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Sinha confirmed that instructions had been issued to all the five traffic police stations at Bistupur, Jugsalai, Mango, Sakchi and Golmuri, besides all local thanas, to initiate punitive measures against bus employees if a woman lodged a complaint.
“A harried female passenger can dial any of the five traffic police stations or local police stations and file her grievance along with the registration number of the bus. The thana concerned will stop the bus and, if the complaint is found to be true, levy a spot fine of Rs 500 from the staff,” he said.
Meanwhile, abiding by the earlier directive, the district traffic police on Monday started safety vigil near Sakchi bus stand. They monitored dress codes, identity tags and whether contact numbers of police stations were being properly displayed on board.
“During the inspection, we found that most buses had issued photo IDs to its staff and were displaying its registration number, owner’s name and phone number and contact numbers of the SSP, SP (city), DSP (city), DSP (traffic), police control room and all police stations en route,” Sinha said.
However, employees of six buses were caught without their mandatory khaki uniforms. They were released following an undertaking by the Shikshit Berozgar Mini Bus Association (SBMBA), stating that the dress code would be met soon.
“Some bus owners have placed orders for khaki uniforms and will get them in a day or two. Khaki dress material is not available in bulk in the market, which may have caused the delay in stitching uniforms. We have sought time from the traffic DSP. All bus employees will honour the dress code by this week,” said association general secretary Sanjay Pandey.
Do you think seat reservation will rein in bus rogues?