ST drivers operate as personal delivery boys

Mid-day survey reveals that drivers readily agree to transport parcels handed over by random passenger at bus depots for a paltry sum, without questioning or checking the contents of the packages

Don’t be surprised the next time you see someone haggling with an ST driver at a depot —chances are that a bargain is being struck over the amount to be paid for the delivery of a parcel. A survey conducted by this correspondent revealed that the illegal practice of delivering parcels through ST bus drivers is rampant at bus depots in Swargate, Shivajinagar and Pune railway station for small sums.

ST bus
A man loads parcels onto an ST bus, which its driver would be delivering on his route, in exchange for a paltry sum. Pic/Mohan Patil

It was observed that the drivers readily agreed to ferry the parcel without bothering to ask about or check its contents.
The malpractice is rampant, even though the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has an official parcel booth at all its bus depots.

One of the persons, who handed over a parcel to a driver for delivery, said, “The service offered by the MSRTC is expensive. So, we prefer sending our parcels directly via bus drivers. All we have to do is pass on the bus details to the person
concerned over the phone, so that he or she can collect it from the driver.”

MSRTC Divisional Controller (Pune) Shailesh Chavhan said, “We are taking strict actions against offenders, and surveying the depots thoroughly to curb this malpractice. If our guards spot any driver agreeing to ferry a parcel illegally, he is suspended on the spot. We request people to report such matters to our depot in-charge immediately.”

Rs 50-Rs 100
Amount bus drivers charge to transport a parcel illegally

No of bus services operating from Swargate depot, daily

No of passengers who travel from Swargate depot daily

How it is done

Most people who send their parcels via drivers enter the depot and park their vehicles next to the bus platform, a practice that is unauthorised. He or she then speaks with the bus driver on the specific route on which the parcel is to be sent, and starts bargaining. Once the deal is struck, the sender notes down the bus number, its route and the driver’s phone number and shares the information with the person who is supposed to collect the parcel. It was observed that the drivers chose secluded corners to strike such deals, ostensibly to avoid the patrolling MSRTC security staff.

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