In Mumbai, the ubiquitous red BEST buses are a lifeline. “But a BEST bus scares you,” one young lady told us “no matter whether you’re inside it or out.”
In Chennai, the alliterative nickname for the city’s Pallavan Transport is Pallavan kollavan [killer Pallavan]. Transport buses make Indian roads unsafe!
On June 3rd, when Leon Rodrigues, 22, was run over in Mumbai, it was the fourth major accident involving a BEST bus that week, leaving two dead and several injured. Two months earlier, a rashly driven BEST bus fell on its side as it speedily took a sharp turn, killing a young man weeks before his wedding day.
Bus drivers overtake, overspeed, jump lanes and signals, and harrass other motorists with impunity. Last month BEST employees beat up an auto-rickshawman who was jostling for space, then took him to their bus depot and beat him up even more.
Employers must find out why such violations happens. Overwork? Hard-to-observe time tables? These problems must be addressed.
We observed that when a BEST driver stopped for a red signal, adjacent motorists stopped too. But when BEST drivers jumped signals—a common sight—others invariably followed. A well-managed organization like BEST could take the initiative in improving driver training.
Make bus drivers everywhere exemplars who are admired, and our roads will be safer too.
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