HRTC’s poor decision to ply new low-floor buses on long routes causing inconvenience
SHIMLA- Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation is causing great inconvenience to people traveling on long routes. HRTC has received new low-floor buses under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). As the name of mission suggest, these buses are not meant for inter-district and inter-state plying. But HRTC has ignored the guidelines.
These low -floor buses were meant to serve in urban areas. Interiors of new buses aren’t made to suit long route journeys where passengers mostly carry luggage and goods.
The buses do not have a roof-top carrier, and there are no usual shelves inside. Passengers are forced to adjust their luggage on floors, which causes inconvenience while moving.
The seats are too uncomfortable except for short, local journeys. The seats in long-route buses usually offer headrest as passengers do fall asleep during long journeys.
A passenger, who was traveling in a low-floor bus on Chaupal to Shimla route, shared a video, images and his experience with HW and said,
The journey was uncomfortable. There was no space for luggage, so passengers were left with no choice but to place it on floor. I almost stumbled due to luggage while moving from front to back to grab a seat. At Ghorna stoppage, Chaupal, the conductor forced few passengers to get off the bus because they were carrying a couple of sacks packed with goods. It was really disheartening to see that these people will have to wait for another ride, and in rural areas, the transportation services are not so frequent.
People in interior areas do not have access to frequent bus services. They wait for hours for the arrival of their bus, which is mostly overloaded. Some of such passengers are denied entry after conductors seeing their luggage. Some others find it impossible to adjust their luggage in crowded buses, so they don’t dare boarding on.
The readers also sent a picture showing people forced to travel on roof of overcrowded buses due to inadequacy of bus services. Despite the fact that hundreds of passenger lose their lives due to over-loading and traveling unsafely, such as on roof, the government hasn’t moved a muscle.
Moreover, a writ petition from two bus operators Shyam Sharma and Happy Awasthi was also filed in High Court challenging illegal plying of buses on inter-district and inter-state routes. The petition claimed that new JNNURM buses were meant to be operated intra-city, within 15 km radius only. The decision to ply these buses on long routes has hit private transporters badly. Both the passengers and private transporters are bearing the brunt of it. Therefore, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir and Justice Tarlok Singh, had sent notice to HP government asking them to justify the decision.
The issue clearly shows how HRTC is delicately busy in providing lip service while ground reality is that Himachal’s transportation service is running on “Jugaads”. The condition of existing HRTC buses is known to everyone. The buses are poorly maintained. It is evident from the fact that most of the buses running on HP road can be seen spraying dense emission through exhaust pipes.