Rogue minibuses to face heat

The traffic wing of East Singhbhum district is rolling up its sleeves to crack down on unruly minibuses.

According to plans, action will be taken against minibuses that don't halt at designated stops and instead collect passengers from wherever they want.

A trial run has already been conducted with five minibus operators facing the music.

The full-fledged drive will kick off from later this week. If a minibus is caught violating road rules, traffic police will confiscate the vehicle and collect spot fine.

"We will slap a penalty of Rs 500 on operators of such minibuses that will be caught taking passengers haphazardly from any place other than the designated stands. If the same bus is caught again flouting rules, the penalty will be doubled," said deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Rakesh Mohan Sinha.

He added that they had already started acting against erring minibuses on a trial and slapped fines on five operators till now.

"The city has over 120 minibuses and each of them has specific route permits. There are also proper bus stands on each route. But over the years, drivers and conductors developed the habit of picking up passengers randomly from places near schools and colleges, thus leading to traffic chaos," said the senior traffic police officer.

The problem was more acute on busy stretches like Bistupur Main Road, Kalimati Road in Sakchi and Sakchi-Baridih Road, where minibuses abruptly stop on seeing passengers.

"The passengers also do not walk to the notified bus stands for boarding the vehicle and instead raise hands to stop buses right in the middle of the road according to their convenience. But if the buses stop only at the designated spots, passengers will automatically fall in line and walk down to board the vehicles," Sinha pointed out.

He further said they conducted a survey on exactly how minibuses operate on roads, especially during busy hours, that is from 10am to 12.30pm and 5pm to 7pm.

"The survey revealed that minibuses not only collect passengers in an irregular manner, but also ply at snail's pace on congested routes like Kalimati Road in Sakchi, Sakchi-Baridih and Bistupur-Kadma, thus causing traffic congestion," Sinha said. Adequate number of traffic policemen will be deployed on the routes where violations are maximum during the special drive.

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