Death toll dwindles but BMTC buses yet to shed 'killer tag'

Statistics reveal a decline in the number of accidents this year, but transport experts far from impressed

It looks like there is still a long way to go before the city transport corporation could rid itself of the 'Killer BMTC' tag.

A total of 344 bus accident cases have been registered
till the month of October this year

From reducing the pay scale to conducting fresh driving lessons for erring drivers, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has done it all, but urban transport experts blame the road accidents to drivers who are stressed.

According to the statistics from the City Traffic Department, in the last 10 months, 52 people have died in accidents involving BMTC buses, while several others have been injured.

Too much pressure?
BMTC operates over 70,000 trips in day and each driver is expected to complete around 10 to 12 trips. "The issue is that most of the drivers are hard-pressed to complete their respective number of trips in a day.

However, with increasing congestion on the roads, the average has reduced to 10 - 15 km per hour," said M N Sreehari, transport expert.

Owing to the heavy traffic on the roads, the drivers are reportedly faced with a difficult situation as their duration of travel has increased.
"Due to this reduced speed, the drivers are pulled up many a times for not meeting the trip requirements, leading to stress and rash driving. This sometimes end up causing accidents," added Sreehari.

Till October this year, 344 accident cases have been filed in which 48 people suffered fatal injuries and 52 were killed. In 2010, there were 465 accident cases, which claimed 90 lives and in 2009 there were 434 incidents that left 82 dead.

Though there is a drop in the number of accidents, Bangaloreans are not happy about the fact that rash driving is still claiming many lives.

"For the family of the accident victims, it is a big loss. Till BMTC brings down its accidents to a minimal, the situation still is far from being considered as an improvement," the expert said.

When MiD DAY questioned BMTC officials on the stress levels of their drivers, they blamed it on the road congestion. 

"The drivers are stressed, there is no denying that but the accidents are taking place mainly due to the road congestion and bad traffic in the city," said M P Prabhudas, Chief Traffic Manager, BMTC.

For long BMTC has been facing the public ire over rash driving and now in a bid to save its face, the corporation has swung into action.

"We have taken up special courses for accident prone drivers. Besides that, drivers found guilty of rash driving leading to fatal accidents have been suspended or punished with pay cuts," added Prabhudas.

Action plan
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M A Saleem said, "We have already started a drive on disciplining BMTC buses.
Those drivers involved in fatal accidents may even lose their driving licenses. We are planning on strict enforcement."

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