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Thursday, December 10, 2015

1600 private buses off the road after road accident ~ not here - in Indonesia

‘Indian’ – directed by Shankar starring Kamal was a landmark movie – in some ways changed the ways of Tamil cinema.  Corruption and eradication have been pet themes of tinseldom.  Senapathy [famously Indian thatha] dishes out punishments to all corrupt officers and does not hesitate to punish his own son, Chandru, [a small-time bribe-brokerstationed outside a Regional Transport Office, who rises to become a RTO Official] for having issued a safety certificate to a bus taking bribes.  The bus gets involved in an accident killing 40 school children….

In Aug 2015, Seven people, including a woman and a child, died and 28 others suffered injuries when a private bus toppled in Tirupur district of Tamil Nadu. The bus was going from Erode to Coimbatore when the driver applied brake on noticing a beggar crossing the road near Palankaraiit was stated.  This week, 29 people sustained injuries, four of them seriously, when a private bus fell into a pit dug up for cable laying at Willingdon Island in Kochi.  The bus wasreportedly  packed to capacity and fell into a pit that runs parallel to the road.

In June 2011,  in a ghastly incident, 23 persons were charred to death when the private bus they were travelling in plunged down a bridge and caught fire near Kaveripakkam.  In Aug 2012, an overcrowded bus fell into a deep gorge in a mountainous area of northern India, killing 52 people and injuring 46 others.  The driver lost control of the vehicle on a sharp curve in Himachal Pradesh, about 620km north of New Delhi.

There were some accidents involving Volvo buses catching ire.  In Oct 2013, nearer Mahububnagar, a private Volvo bus on the way from Bangalore toHyderabad caught fire after hitting a culvert while overtaking a car, killing 45 people and injuring another 7………..  the list could be exhaustive – so many human lives lost !  There are many killer roads ~ people blame rash two wheeler drivers, errant auto-rickshaws, care-for-none- cars, threatening yellow board taxis – water tankers, bigger trucks and buses – quite often we read of ghastly accidents killing many people.  The life of the families of the victims would never be the same as it was before that fateful day.

Accidents are not accidents all the time – some are caused by rashness, negligence, faulty vehicles, bad roads, lack of training and more ….. and do Officials learn from the accidents and take any preventive measures ? – it is not mere punishment to driver, compensation to victims – should not something be done to prevent them …

Miles away, there was an accident in Indonesia. In a recent incident, 18 people were killed when a private bus was struck by a train and dragged for about 200 metres.  Newspaper reports state that the driver of a Metro Mini bus ignored a warning siren at a level crossing in West Jakarta and drove around a safety barrier onto train tracks.The bus was struck by a train and dragged for about 200 metres.Eighteen people were killed, including the driver and his assistant. There was just one survivor.

It is at least the 32nd accident at a level crossing in Jakarta this year, many of them involve buses that are often stopping to pick up passengers.Critics say driver training is poor and the buses are in terrible condition.

Now it is reported that  Indonesia has pulled 1,600 private buses off its roads after a weekend bus crash in which 18 people died. ABC news reports that removing private buses will make life even more difficult for frazzled commuters in a city where children and toddlers ride on their parents' motorbikes, without helmets, painted lane markings are there for decoration rather than guidance, and a red traffic light means the car behind yours has to stop.

Jakarta's transport office says it has pulled 1,600 Metro Minis off the road, although on the streets, there appear to be plenty of the buses remaining.On a wet Jakarta weekday, the traffic slows to walking pace, which makes it a lot easier for commuters to jump aboard a faded orange Metro Mini.The mid-sized buses do not have designated stops, so passengers get on and off where they like.There is a reasonable chance of getting bowled over by a scooter on the journey from the footpath to the bus, but at 40 cents a ride, most passengers think it is worth the risk.

In regards to the safety, no matter how it is, when it's time to die, you'll die anyway – a  Jakarta bus passenger is quoted as saying.   Another passenger proudly claimed that he had been catching the orange bus for 10 years and is only concerned when it is about cross a rail track.   The accident has created a scare in the minds of many travellers though.  But there are Qs galore – on what is replacement and how will the passengers commute otherwise !

People are comparing with Singapore and other advanced Nations where there discipline, people stand in queues, vehicles stopping in proper stops – many oped that the new underground train line, due to be completed in about three years, will remove some of the risks of the road for the city of 10 million people.

How does your city compare …..  and what happens after a gory accident !
With regards – S. Sampathkumar

9th Dec 2015.

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