Town buses halt haphazardly near Bank of Baroda on Bistupur Main Road in Jamshedpur on Tuesday. This picture is expected to be different from August 26. (Bhola Prasad)
Hailing a bus to a halt, except for designated stops, may soon be history in Jamshedpur.
To ease routine bottlenecks on arteries wide or narrow, traffic mandarins have decided to bring private town buses and auto-rickshaws, which are guilty of arbitrary parking to hoard passengers, under the scanner from next week.
The order from DSP (traffic) Jagadish Prasad’s office was issued to bus operators at Sakchi terminus and the Shikshit Berozgar Tempo Chalak Sangh, an organisation of auto-rickshaw operators, on Tuesday, asking them to mend their ways or face penalty from coming Tuesday.
Around 20,000 auto-rickshaws and 125 private town buses ply on different routes in the steel city. The strict directive comes in the wake of serial protests by civic outfits at the district collectorate over frequent snarls on thoroughfares caused by haphazard halts and unauthorised parking of these two fleets.
DSP Prasad said a meeting with representatives of private buses and auto-rickshaws had been held on Sunday.
“They have their grievances, which the administration will try to solve, but I have given a written directive that if any auto or bus is found encroaching upon road space, it will be fined under Section 190, Clause 117 of the Motor Vehicles Act from next Tuesday. First-time offenders will pay Rs 100 and repeat offenders will cough up Rs 500,” said the officer.
Sources in the department said a simultaneous drive would be carried out at all the five traffic police station areas of Sakchi, Bistupur, Mango, Golmuri and Jugsalai, with focus on parking offences against public transport for the first time in nearly a decade.
“Usually, traffic police are preoccupied with helmet-checking and other acts of violation committed by bikers. There has hardly been any sustained drive against buses and autos,” said a senior police officer.
Commuters agreed that public transport caused maximum traffic congestion.
“During office and school hours, auto-rickshaws and private town buses virtually stand in the middle of arteries like near Bank of Baroda on Bistupur Main Road, on Sakchi-Kalimati Road, along Sakchi Straight Mile Road, on Sakchi-Purulia Highway and Dimna Road intersection. Such chaos increases the risk of road accidents. We are eagerly waiting for the traffic police measure to discipline drivers,” said Gautam Dasgupta, a Jusco employee and resident of Sakchi.
Private bus and auto-rickshaw operators conceded no-parking violations, but blamed encroachment by vendors for traffic snarls.
“We have requested the DSP (Prasad) to carry out a survey of important roads. He will see how hawkers eat into road space and trouble traffic. We have no option but to move at a snail’s pace or halt at undesignated spots during rush hours. If passengers board the bus during such a time, how are we at fault?
“Once vendor encroachment is removed, we will not have to stop our vehicles at any other spot apart from designated areas or parking lots,” said Sanjay Pandey, the secretary of Shikshit Berozgar Mini-Bus Association.