Hyderabad: A group of passengers on a TSRTC bus had a ride of their lives in Tandur town on Sunday night when a parked bus they were sitting in was driven away from Tandur bus station by a drunken man, who posed as the driver-cum-conductor of the vehicle.
Fortunately, the scary ride was short, as some of the passengers realised that there was something wrong with the man at the wheel and challenged him.
The pressure from passengers finally forced the drunkard to stop driving the bus, but not before he careened his way for a few kilometers and drove the bus on to a median on the road near the Mallappa Madiga area of Tandur.
After stopping the bus, the man ran away from the spot.
It all began in Tandur around 9.30 pm on Sunday. The bus (AP21 Z437) of Tandur depot was scheduled for a trip between Karankote and Ogipur villages from Tandur. The bus’s first trip started at around 1 pm, with Iliyas as the driver and Jagadish as the conductor, both RTC employees of the Tandur depot. After completion of four trips, at around 9.30 pm, the duo parked the bus and went for dinner.
Meanwhile, a man posing as the driver of the bus started the vehicle, which was occupied by at least 10 passengers.
Bus was self starter, did not need keys
When the passengers questioned him about the conductor, the man said that he was performing the duty as a driver-cum-conductor for the bus and moved it out of the station towards Karankote Road.
K Rajasekhar, manager, Tandur bus depot, said, “It was an old model bus. It has a self-starter and does not require a key to start. The person who took away the bus was heavily drunk. He rammed the vehicle into a median, which resulted in damage to the windshield, but all passengers are safe.”
As the vehicle took off from the bus station, the passengers, numbering about 10, panicked at the rash and negligent driving and demanded that the driver stop the bus. When the person driving refused to do, some passengers called the bus depot officials. Around the same time, the drunkard drove the bus on to a median. Once the vehicle stopped moving, he jumped out and ran away.
Meanwhile, the driver and conductor, who had returned from dinner, were shocked to see their bus missing from the depot. They alerted the security and depot manager, who in turn alerted local police. After a search for about half an hour, the bus was found abandoned.
S. Ravi Kumar, inspector, Tandur (town), said, “The bus driver and conductor went for dinner when an unidentified man drove away with their bus, with 10 passengers on board. The bus was to ply the passengers to Karankote and Ogipur.”
Inspector Kumar said that preliminary investigation revealed that the man was heavily drunk and even had an argument with passengers when questioned about rash driving.
“The bus was abandoned at Mallappa Madiga. None of the passengers were injured. They did not complain of any harmful activity of the suspect,” he said.
Based on a complaint from the bus driver, a case was registered and suspect was taken into custody for questioning. Further investigation is on, the inspector added.