Days after the government began a drive against uncomfortable seating in public vehicles, many passengers on Thursday expressed need for a similar campaign against overloading in mini-buses and their slow plying.
Mini-buses which ply at “snail’s pace” inside Srinagar city often annoy passengers—especially students and workers.
Mohammad Iqbal, a government employee, said, “I don’t see the traffic police personnel taking any action against these selfish drivers who don’t care about overloading passengers.”
A group of passengers at Parimpora said they have no option other than travelling by the mini-buses. “They stop the vehicles wherever they want. There’s no concept of a bus stop here,” one of the passengers said.
Another passenger said he approached the Regional Transport office of Kashmir to raise the issue with the concerned authority. “This hardly serves any purpose unless the authorities take some serious action against the violators,” he said.
The passengers said there was no respite in traffic jams in Srinagar even though the government shifted the Batamaloo bus terminal to Parimpora in the city outskirts. “They cops on duty have become mute spectators.”
Students on way to Srinagar from various parts of Kashmir valley also complained of the slow plying buses, saying they often miss classes or reach their institutes late.
“It takes me an hour and a half to reach Kashmir University from Parimpora as the drivers are hesitant to gear up the speed even for a single movement,” Irfan Bashir, a student, said. “We cannot always blame traffic jams but these bus drivers have made it a habit to consume time.”
Aftab Ahmad, a passenger at Jahangir Chowk, said, “It is not the fault of these bus drivers, but it is the fault of poor traffic rules which are implemented here and no action is taken against the violators.”
He said common people suffer due to overloading and frequent stopping of the buses.
Regional Transport Officer of Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad Rather, said the authority would take strict action against those found violating the rules. “If anyone is found guilty, his permit will be cancelled on the spot,” he assured.
He asked people to not risk their lives by boarding overloaded vehicles.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic Srinagar, Tahir Saleem Khan, said the traffic police is “acting against the violators” and people should not board the overloaded vehicles.
“Anyone violating the rules will be dealt with strictly,” he said.