Acting on the order issued by Bombay High Court, instructing regional transport offices to ascertain if private tour operators plying sleeper buses are abiding by safety norms, the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has issued a notice to bus operators in the city to get their buses re-inspected.
With an increasing number of highway accidents involving private buses, the RTO has made it mandatory to instruct passengers on how to operate emergency doors, break windowpanes using a hammer, and operate extinguishers in case of a fire. File pic
In the notice, issued last week, transport officials have told bus operators that conductors of tourist buses have to provide safety instructions to passengers, similar to instructions given by a flight attendant before take-off. In addition, the RTO has made it mandatory to instruct passengers on how to operate emergency door, break windowpanes using a hammer and operate extinguishers in case of a fire.
“As per the order issued by High Court, every tourist bus has to abide by safety norms, which include having emergency exits, fire extinguishers and hammers. We had issued notices to 47 bus operators to get their buses re-inspected by RTO officials. 17 have not responded till date. From the remaining 30, we booked nine for not following all safety norms and their permits have been suspended,” informed Yogesh Baug, assistant regional transport officer.
Baug added that during inspection they also found many sleeper buses with extra berths, which is not allowed. In buses that provide audio-visual facility, bus operators are also expected to provide information about safety measures on the screens. “We are cancelling fitness certificates and suspending registration of operators who are not following the rules. Moreover, the 17 operators who have not responded have been issued a public notice today (Thursday) to get their buses inspected within three days or face termination of their registration,” said Baug.
Pune RTO has made it mandatory for all tour bus operators to maintain a list of passengers with their names, addresses and contact numbers of relatives in case of an emergency. The speed limit on Pune-Mumbai expressway has been set till 80 kmph. If the driver fails to observe the limit, passengers should stop him, failing which they should call the helpline number. Helpline numbers of highway police, hospitals on the way, ambulance numbers and contact number of bus operator must be displayed in at least two places on the bus.