City Ride buses continue to have a free run on the city’s roads while plans to rein them in lie buried in files at the district transport office (DTO).
There has been a substantial rise in the number of fatal accidents involving City Ride buses over the past few months. But DTO lacks the seriousness to rein in the killer vehicles though its officials term the incidents unfortunate.
The latest example of the danger these buses pose to citizens came on Saturday when a speeding City Ride bus hit a cycle-rickshaw carrying 55-year-old Leela Kumari on Exhibition Road near Chiraiyatand roadbridge, killing her and injuring five others. An irate mob torched the bus.
“Incidents like these are really unfortunate. However, the transport office does its job regularly. Every Tuesday, we conduct stringent checks on City Ride buses and issue them fitness certificates. The police also launch drives, from time to time, to catch rash drivers,” said a senior DTO official, preferring anonymity.
Gandhi Maidan police have not been able to arrest the driver responsible for Saturday’s incident. The accused managed to escape even after being thrashed by the public.
“No, the driver has not been caught yet. Today being a Sunday, the police cannot do much. Tomorrow (Monday), we will go to the DTO and get his contact details and take subsequent action,” said an officer at Gandhi Maidan police station.
On January 17, an irate mob had torched a City Ride bus after it hit a cyclist near Ashok Rajpath around 11.30am. An officer at Pirbahore police station, under which Ashok Rajpath falls, said: “We need to check the records to know the current status of this case. However, in many such cases, drivers who flee the accident scene later surrender in court.”
On December 26 last year, another speeding City Ride bus had hit a bike near Kotwali Junction, causing grievous injuries to Kankerbagh-based Lalita Devi who was riding pillion on her son’s bike. The woman died on the way to hospital.
In this case too, the police talked about checking records. “We remember that the driver had surrendered in court. The police got the driver’s address from the DTO. But before he could be nabbed, he surrendered,” said an officer at Kankerbagh police station.
On August 22 last year, a speeding City Ride bus carrying passengers to Patna Junction turned turtle near DAV School in Shastri Nagar, killing a person. The police said the accused driver was nabbed and sent to jail.
Attempts to contact senior DTO officials proved futile on Sunday. The police said the situation was grim in areas such as the Station roundabout and Kargil Chowk.
“The drivers often jump the queue as each wants to pick up passengers first and return to the starting point fast in order to make more trips,” said a constable posted at Patna Junction.
However, when it comes to taking action against such drivers, the police do not seem to have specific data.
“We have been thinking of a few things like permanent cancellation of licences. Work regarding the same is on and the DTO has been contacted too. But regular drives against speeding are conducted. Vehicles, including these buses, are impounded and fined too,” said an official at the traffic wing of Patna police.