KOLKATA: Reckless driving, overtaking from wrong side, over shooting red lights, picking and dropping passengers from the middle of the road — name one violation and the bus bullies of Kolkata can fit into all.
On Monday, a 21-year-old college student was crushed after being caught between two buses while trying to board one that had slowed down on the middle of the road as the other bus overtook from left and hit him. However, nothing had changed on ground when TOI checked the streets on Tuesday.
At Deshapran Sashmal Road-Rashbehari Avenue crossing, buses race each other in a bid to stop near the crossing and pick passengers way ahead of the dedicated stand. While most buses stopped on the middle of the road to avoid driving into the bus lane, other buses try to overtake the stationary ones from left to pick passengers first.
“It’s the same situation here every day. This crossing has become one of the most dangerous places in the city and an accident is just waiting to take place,” said Subhasis Sarkar, a state government official.
At Rashbehari Avenue connector near Acropolis Mall, buses seldom take the bus bay and cars remain parked in zones designated for public transport. Most of the buses ply in the middle of the road, often trying to overtake the one in the front at breakneck speed. They stop at will to let passengers get off.
TOI found several of them, from elderly men to toddlers holding their mother’s hand, getting down from buses on the wrong side near Kasba new market and face heavy traffic.
“The conductors urge us to get off the bus on the middle of the road itself. We can’t help but do as told by them,” said Sumita Chakraborty, a resident of P Majumdar Road in Kasba.
At Tagore Park on EM Bypass, buses — private as well as government — blatantly ignore the bus lane rules and pick and drop passengers from the middle of the road. Cars and bikes often end up getting into the bay and then get caught as passengers stand on the main throughfare, almost five to six feet from the kerb to take a bus.
On being asked, a senior Kolkata Police officer said they have conducted many drives against errant bus drivers and also booked them for various offences, including speeding and reckless driving.