Thiruvananthapuram: A scan through the departure-arrival schedule of interstate luxury buses exposes the high average speeds that contribute to back-to- back accidents.
The accident at Salem involving a Bengaluru-Thiruvalla bus that left seven dead was the latest among the ones involving interstate buses.
"There are buses covering the nearly 700-km Bengaluru-Thiruvananthapuram distance in 10.4 hours. This includes a dinner break and slow transit on horrible road conditions between Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram. Passengers also are to be blamed because everyone will opt for only the fastest buses even if it means paying a few extra bucks," said Nishant Pillai, an IT professional.A section of operators force their drivers to drive overnight. In the wake of an accident at Chadayamangalam, the KSRTC employees had raised complaints of inadequate rest. A driver was suspended because he dozed off for over 30 minutes after stopping the bus while returning from Bengaluru.
"The working condition of drivers depends on operators. There are those who work non-stop for 14 hours. They take eight hours' rest and again drive for 14 hours. The cycle continues for weeks. Certain other operators have cleaners who take on wheels for some time. Often they are not qualified drivers.," said a bus driver.
Following a fire outbreak on Bengaluru-Tirpuathi bus that killed 45, the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh state governments had made it compulsory to have mini-hammers beside every window for passengers to break open glasses. Similarly, fire-proof curtains and extra-fuel were to be avoided in buses....