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DTC TERROR New buses match deadly Bluelines in rash driving.

Drivers of DTC low- floor buses are as bad as the Blueline crew

TRANSPORT minister Arvinder Singh Lovely never tires of talking about the Blueline buses in posthumous terms and how the demise of the fleet, which became notorious for reckless driving, would make the city roads safer.

Everybody agrees the ' killer' buses, the nickname the fleet has earned, must go. But if Lovely is really serious about making Delhi's streets safer, he needs to crack the whip on his own flock.

Or fleet. We are talking about the hundreds of low- floor Delhi Transport Corporation ( DTC) buses newly introduced by the government.

When it comes to rash and dangerous driving, drivers in charge of the new DTC buses are fast catching up with their Blueline counterparts. So the Bluelines may be on their way out, but the wolf thrives in sheep's clothing.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit once famously said she would rather walk than board a Blueline bus.

Lovely might say the same thing about the new DTC buses if he travels in one. And unlike Dikshit, the transport minister may not even take the risk of walking on roads on which his buses run riot daily. Here's a sample of what he is likely to experience if he hops on to one of his swanky green or red buses.

The drivers over- speed ( Speed governors that restrict the speed to 40kmph and less have been tampered with) They do not stick to lane- driving, switch lanes often and overtake in crowded streets ( This poses a risk of collision with other motorists as these buses are bigger and occupy more road space) The buses do not stop at bus shelters but in the middle of roads.

So people board the vehicles and alight amid heavy traffic.

People often run to get onboard. Those onboard often jump out of moving buses as the drivers, like their Blueline counterparts, only slow down and do not stop ( When they were introduced, the buses used to stop only at designated stands) Drivers allow the electronic doors to open anywhere on the road to let passengers board or alight.

Many buses ply with the doors open with people hanging out Boards put up by the manufacturers informing passengers that the bus moves only if the electronic doors are shut are now missing in many buses The drivers seem to lack skills to manoeuvre these modern buses. With powerful engines, the buses have good momentum and require more skill to manoeuvre. Drivers often clip other vehicles while turning ( the rear part of most of the buses are dented, a result of collisions with other vehicles) and graze dangerously past other traffic and pedestrians. As the engines make little noise, it's impossible to know if a bus is coming behind With DTC drivers aping their Blueline colleagues, the government seems to be turning a blind eye to the issue.

According to Delhi Traffic Police data, every second day one DTC bus was found involved in an accident between January 1 and 15. Speed governors are mandatory but the gadget was found tampered with in many buses or not in use. There were 26 instances in which DTC buses were found running without speed governors.

In the first fortnight of January, 255 buses were prosecuted and 71 impounded. Last year during the same period, 106 buses were prosecuted and three impounded. DTC buses were involved in seven non- fatal accidents till January 15, while the corresponding number during last year was only two.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 31, 2011
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