The Killer Buses

The reign of terror being created by Blueline Buses in Delhi has shaken up the death toll at an ever ascending scale. It is sad that almost every other day, we get to read articles in the newspapers or watch television reports of another life lost due to the callousness of the Blueline bus drivers. To the people unaffected by such tragedies, the death of a person is perhaps just measured as a reduction of a mere number in a population of millions. But what about those who lose their loved ones in such incidents? It is blatant picture of an untimely ending with an unexpected and tragic ending.

The Blueline buses are privately owned and functions to cater their services to the general public of Delhi. A person pays to buy a bus and thereafter, hands it over to a contractor who pays him on a daily basis. Since the bus drivers have to raise profits, they tend to speed up on roads in order to generate profits as fast as possible. The Transport Department has in fact pointed on that had the owner been driving the bus, his actions in carrying out daily affairs would have been more cautious The Delhi high court refers to them as killers, who should claim responsibility for the accidental deaths occurring in the city.

The Blueline bus service began when it was noticed that the DTC buses were not sufficient to handle the transport requirements of the masses. While DTC buses move slowly on the roads, Blueline bus drivers are always under constant pressure to raise profits, take on board, as many passengers as possible. This leads them to speed up their vehicles, which in turn, poses a threat to the people in the close vicinity of the bus.

I travel in Blueline buses too, and I have met people from all walks of life who travel in them as well. Once, I ended up having a conversation with an elderly lady regarding the ‘ruthlessness’ of the bus drivers, who always exceeded the acceptable speed limit. Why did she call them ‘ruthless’? Were’nt we, like everyone around us, reaching our desired destinations on time? Sure enough, I am aware of the damage they have caused in the past, but we still we have to rely on them for our transportation needs. I hounded with all the questions playing in my mind. To them, she responded with a helpless smile and said that she lost her son, daughter-in law and grandson in a mishap last year; they were waiting at the bus stop, when a speeding bus came and mowed them down.

I still shudder when I think of our conversation; I can’t help but wonder how the lady still has the courage to travel in that mode of transportation even after she lost her loved ones to it. The answer in simple, she has no choice. She has no other option but to travel in these Blueline buses. The frequency of DTC buses, which is a much safer option, is lesser, and for people like her, he work on hourly wages, it is not feasible to keep waiting for a safer bus to come.

So who should be blamed for these mishaps? The Government? The Bus contractors? The bus drivers? I don’t know. But something has to be done about it to hit it’s occurrence at grassroots level. Blueline buses have become a way of life for people. It is not feasible to suggest that people should boycott them.

No compensation given by the Government can ever compensate for the loss of a life. Can an orphaned child, innocent parents, a helpless sibling or shocked friends find solace after they lose a loved one? Many of us have watched others lose their lives in such incidents. But just because it happened to someone else, does not mean that it cannot happen to us, or our loved ones, too

And while that Is a scary thought, it is something worth thinking about; if we all think of it from this angle of vision, we just might be able to find constructive solutions to this problem that has affected, not mere abstractions of society, but society at large.

Aditi Ghosh

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