DTO enforcement drives add up to zero; public transport system remains unregulated
is yet to be verified. Private City bus Earlier, the DTO and traffic department had conducted multiple drives to regulate the city buses but the buses plying in the city still do not follow rules and regulations resulting in many accidents. That the city buses do not issue tickets is always a major concern. There are multiple associations under which the buses operate in the city. There are 774 city buses out of which 197 buses run on Route No. 6 and more than 100 buses run on Route No. 1. There are 32 routes and buses run only on eight of these. The other 24 routes are virtually non-functional. The 774 buses are variously under 8 associations and while they are least bothered about modes of operation, rules and regulations, their sole motive at the end of the day remains profit. An official source of DTO said that many routes have been rationalized so that it does not create traffic congestion and there are many routes which have overlapped with the routes which have been rationalized. Many such routes have been withdrawn for free flow of traffic. The regulatory body, the Regional Transport Authority (RTA), does not have any role to play as the buses operate through private operators. This is the main problem and until and unless the organizations are brought under one single umbrella organization the problem cannot be solved. Auto-Rickshaw Earlier, the DTO had organized a meeting with the Auto-Rickshaw Owners’ Association Coordination Committee, legal metrology, transport department, district administration and police department to operate the city’s auto-rickshaw service by free and fair means. The auto service in the city is very old but it seems that of late the public has started to dislike the service because of the rude behaviour of the auto drivers and the irrational, unregulated fares they charge. The Gauhati High Court in a verdict said that auto-rickshaws should install fare meters immediately and that the auto-rickshaw owners’ association coordination committee should implement the government prescribed rates, i.e. Rs. 30 for the first 2 kms against the meter reading of Rs. 10 and Rs. 3 for every subsequent 200 metres or part, i.e. Rs. 15 for every subsequent km. The waiting charge should be Rs. 3 for every 5 minutes, i.e. Rs. 36 per hour. The fare during night time, i.e. from 10 pm to 5 am, will increase by 50% over the normal fare. But the auto-rickshaw association has not accepted these rates of the government and till date it has not followed the rules and regulations framed by the government. When queried about the status report of the fare-meter system of auto-rickshaws, a reliable source from the department said that they have sent the report to the government and it is the government who will take action. Until and unless the government takes a step the department cannot regulate or enforce the meter system. Share Taxi In a meeting held earlier by the RTA and the district administration, it was discussed that the physical condition of most of the vehicles has deteriorated to the extent that the passengers’ safety is at risk. Also, the aesthetics of the city has been compromised by the age-old vehicles besides threatening the safety of other commuters and pedestrians. The RTA had given a time period of 6 months from the date of the meeting held in December 2013. However, it was later decided that the age-old vehicles should be replaced within 31st March, 2016. “The High Court has given a stay order and the date for the next hearing was given in the fourth week of April, 2016. The age-old share taxi and city buses create problems and it is risky for the passengers and so need to be replaced,” the source said. The source further informed that the department has tried to regulate the vehicles but until and unless the government issues an order they can’t take any action. It has been informed that the department has sent the entire report to the government so that the entire system can be regulated. Although the department does carry out enforcement drives, the city buses and trekkers continue to violate traffic norms with impunity leading to accidents and traffic chaos in the city.