Cracking the whip on errant commuters who failed to buy tickets for their trips, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) penalised 11,357 ticketless travellers and collected Rs 19.20 lakh as fine from them during a special drive that was on between July and September this year.
During the drive, the inspection teams apprehended 3,575 persons, bringing in a collection of Rs 5.67 lakh as fine in the month of July. In August, 4,082 commuters were slapped with a fine, which totaled Rs 6.74 lakh; in September, a total of 3,700 passengers were found travelling without tickets, who jointly paid Rs 6.78 lakh in fine.
On an average, the corporation conducts special drives for five days every month. During these drives, checking inspectors along with branch managers would be involved in the inspection at a largescale.
The inspections were carried out at eight major stops, including Koyambedu, SRP Tools, Central railway station and Broadway. These are important and crowded routes — around 4,000 single trips are operated along these bus routes alone.
“This is the first time we have collected such a huge amount during special drives. Also, this time we had increased the frequency of the drive with a sole purpose to increase awareness among the public about ticketless travel, which is unlawful,” said a senior official.
The Corporation has a fleet of 3,400 buses that are operated on the city roads along 673 bus routes, covering a total distance of 9.88 lakh kilometers per day. Recently, in an effort to shore up its finances, the State-run transport body had begun publicising the minimum fare of Rs 5 outside the MTC buses — which is cheaper than even share-autorickshaws. This seems to have worked, as the Corporation added around 20,000 passengers to the commuter base, which stood at 35 lakh.
351 drivers penalised in four years for using phone behind wheel: RTI
The MTC has taken disciplinary action against 351 drivers for using mobile phone at the wheel in the past four years alone. In a reply to an RTI application, the MTC informed that nearly 50 drivers were punished for talking over the phone while driving till September 1 this year.
The RTI applicant, K Anbazhagan of Ram Nagar, received the details about the erring drivers who were penalised since January 1 of 2014.
The Corporation revealed that nearly 90 drivers were apprehended in 2014, 52 in 2015, 91 in 2016 and 68 in 2017. In addition, the government body revealed that no accidents were reported due to talking over the mobile phone at the wheel during the same period.
The RTI reply contained that the repeated violators were placed under the suspension according to the norms of the department. To a query related to the cancellation of drivers’ licenses, the MTC said that there is no provision to recommend the licenses of erring drivers with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Instead, disciplinary actions were taken against the workers who flouted traffic rules.
MTC has refused to divulge details regarding the nature of action taken against the violators and their names under the Section 8(1)J of the RTI act 2005. It states that there is no need to disclose any information related to an individual if it is not linked to public information.