While the transport body claims it has been providing training on safe driving to its drivers, its own buses are in a deplorable condition and are poorly maintained
The beautiful valleys and gorges of Malshej witnessed a horrific accident when a Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) bus fell into the valley, killing at least 27 people. But the real focus lies on the state transport body’s lack of attention given to its vehicles. MSRTC buses have been involved in a whopping 9,910 accidents in the last three years. Most of these buses, especially running in rural areas, are in a pitiable condition and are rickety.
MSRTC buses are often poorly maintained and in a rickety condition. Pic for Representation/ Sayed Sameer Abedi
The transport body’s plans of introducing sturdier buses with better aerodynamics, too, are moving ahead at a snail’s pace. Authorities have been thinking of using a combination of aluminum, mild steel and galvanised steel for constructing the body of the bus. However, sources said that there hadn’t been much development on this front.
There had also been talk of installing GPS systems in the vehicles. “This GPS will help us locate each bus. It will take time for us to install them in all our buses,” said another MSRTC official. Sources added that the GPS would at least help them identify the last location of these buses in case of accidents. However, sadly, this bus had no such device installed. No plans have actually materialised into concrete action.
Apart from this, the MSRTC claims they have been providing training to their drivers on safe driving, which also includes the use of simulators and other machines that are responsible for running the 18,000-strong fleet of buses. Only a day before this accident (on January 1), the Managing Director of MSRTC, Vikas Kharge claimed that they were doing everything to train their drivers.
“We have already sent 142 drivers to train them on simulators. They are also trained on an automotive track in Pune that has slopes, steep curves and other road conditions,” said Kharge. Authorities claim this is their initiative for safe driving. Apart from this, officials have also asked drivers not to speed or overtake and change gears harshly, as it also leads to fuel loss.
Accidents involving ST buses