Traffic police launches drive to shape up public bus drivers

- ANUP OJHA, Kathmandu

Feb 14, 2019-

In a bid to curb unruly behaviours of drivers and conductors of public vehicles and to minimise road accidents, the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division has come up with a new rule called “one minute with drivers and two minutes with passengers”.

The campaign, launched in the Kathmandu Valley on Tuesday, will be run for a week, according to the traffic division. The division has instructed all its 40 units in the Valley to make the new campaign effective.

Officials at the Division said this campaign will be conducted twice a day in areas that are more prone to accidents. One of the stretches where the campaign will be conducted is the recently expanded 10.5 km Kalanki-Koteshwor eight-lane road.

Similarly, traffic police personnel will also be deployed along the Ring Road and other areas—Ratnapark, Maharajgung, Koteshwor, New Bus Park, Balaju,  Putalisadak, Jadibuti and Sallaghari among others—which are prone to accidents as they see a high concentration of public vehicles on a daily basis.

“Every day, traffic police will give one-minute ‘on the spot’ instructions to the drivers and helpers regarding safe driving and a two-minute briefing on road safety to passengers,” said Senior Superintendent of Office Basanta Kumar Panta, chief at the division. He said the traffic police will also inspect whether designated seats for women, disabled and elderly people are being used.

“We are also seeing many people are not using zebra crossings and over head bridges. We will make them aware of road safety during the campaign,” said Panta. Nepal Police data shows, 2,541 people died in 10,965 road accidents in different parts of the country in the last fiscal year (2017/18). According to police, it was the highest toll recorded since 2001/2002. Talking to the Post, Panta said drivers are responsible for 80 percent of the accidents.

Passengers complain of unruly behaviours of public vehicle operators on a daily basis, mainly from conductors and drivers. At rush hours, it’s not hard to witness such vehicles pack passengers like sardines in a tin.

Drivers are often seen recklessly zooming past the zebra crossings and boarding passengers from undesignated areas.

“It scares me to board public vehicles because conductors use abusive words, and often times I have felt harassed. That’s why I took out a loan to buy a scooter,” said Zocya Phuyal, a teacher at a private school in Mahalaxmisthan, Lalitpur. It is not just the drivers, even passengers are seen hanging onto public vehicle doors despite knowing the vehicle is over-crowded. Such scenes are all too pervasive in the Valley.

Published: 14-02-2019 07:49

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