Red devils on the road

18 November,2010 06:40 AM IST |   |  Vedika Chaubey

With over 650 accidents already this year, BEST is now planning to train its drivers to reduce the number of mishaps on the road

With over 650 accidents already this year, BEST is now planning to train its drivers to reduce the number of mishaps on the road

The next time you see a BEST bus careen down the road towards you, you might want to quickly step aside to safety, and let the bus rumble past.

The city*s red buses are becoming dangerous to pedestrians, going by the rising number of fatal accidents.

Only yesterday, a biker sustained severe injuries when a BEST bus collided with his two-wheeler.

The number of fatal accidents involving BEST buses has gone up to 45 so far. Between January and December last year, the corresponding figure was 43.

The number of minor accidents, however, has gone down to 653 from last year*s 809. "This is of serious concern.
We plan to impart special intensified training to drivers," said a senior BEST official. "Besides, the drivers will also be counselled about driving."

BEST officials are left wondering whether drivers who are employed on a daily-wage basis are responsible for these accidents.

Sources in the BEST blamed it on former BEST general manger Uttam Khobragade*s decision to appoint daily wagers to drive BEST buses.

"I don*t think the number is rising because of daily-wage drivers. There are several other reasons for the accidents," said BEST committee Chairman Sanjay Potnis.

In 2006-07, of a total number of 10,500 BEST drivers, 9,447 were found to be involved in cases involving major and minor accidents.

"In the maximum number of accident cases that took place this month, senior drivers and not daily wage drivers were involved," said Potnis.

In case of a minor accident involving a BEST bus, the department does not conduct any inquiry. "The incident is entered into the driver*s service record," said a BEST official.

A BEST official shows the spot where a biker collided with his two-wheeler and sustained injuries at Behram Baug in Oshiwara, yesterday

However, if a driver, who is a permanent employee, is found involved in a fatal accident, he is either suspended or removed from service, depending on what the enquiry says about the driver*s fault.

Besides, BEST is short-staffed presently.

"In the absence of our senior drivers, we have no choice but to put daily wage drivers at the wheel," said BEST committee member Sunil Ganacharya.
"Also, accidents which happen are not always the driver*s fault. They also take place because of bad traffic and bad roads. The administration needs to impart training to new drivers on a priority basis."

The number of fatal accidents involving BEST buses in 2009
The number of fatal accidents involving BEST buses till yesterday

Best Numbers
4,500: The number of buses in BEST*s fleet
8,000: The number of BEST drivers and conductors on BEST*s payroll
4,500: The number of daily-wage BEST drivers and conductors

Capital Killers?
A total number of 568 people were crushed under Delhi*s Blueline buses between 2005 and 2009
The buses, which had earned the reputation for reckless driving, will be completely u00a0off the roads by December 14. There are 2,400 blueline u00a0buses operating in the u00a0capital of which 1,600 were shunted out ahead of the Commonwealth Games earlier this month.

BEST bus 650 accidents mishaps accident Behram Baug
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