Since July, the Deputy Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Vashi has been conducting surprise checks on school buses, autorickshaws and other private buses to check if they have been following all the rules laid down by the RTO. And their hard work seems to have paid off -- in five months, the number of offences committed have dipped considerably.
The inspections conducted in July found around 23 buses and 10 rickshaws violating safety norms while ferrying kids. Of these, five bus operators were overloading their buses. In about 11 buses, the speed governors were not working and 10 auto rickshaws were caught for ferrying four passengers in their vehicles instead of the permitted three. The same surprise checks were conducted every month, and the recent one shows a clear dip in the number of illegal activities.
RTO officers also sought paperwork, such as fitness certificates, insurance papers, permit papers, Pollution Under Control certificate (PUC) and licences. They also demanded that other basic measures like emergency windows and fire extinguishers be installed in every school bus. They also checked buses to see if they were being filled beyond capacity and had painted the names of their schools clearly on the exterior. In October, RTO officials even handed over reports to errant bus operators, mentioning missing paperwork and the fine they had to pay.
Rs 18,800 was collected in fines from three bus operators. Thecontractors were asked to pay the fine within seven days of receiving the memos.
In November, only four buses and seven rickshaws were found violating the rules, and Rs 12,000 collected as fine.
Sanjay Daygude, deputy regional transport officer at Vashi RTO, said, “We had decided during the transport commission meeting that we would conduct the drive. After this campaign of ours, we saw a dip in overloading of buses and rickshaws. Now, we will make it a point that this is monitored every month.”