Employees attribute increase in number of road accidents to work pressure and ageing vehicles of the existing fleet.
“Around 300 buses have been added to the existing fleet. But we need 600 more as replacement. We annually need to add 200 buses every year. Around 70 buses in Thoothukudi depot have been on the road for over eight years and 40 buses need to be replaced immediately,” an SETC official said. Likewise, SETC has a strength of 120 buses where 60 per cent of its vehicles need to be replaced. According to the Corporation’s mandate, a vehicle’s engine should be changed after it covers a distance of 3 lakh km.
“The maintenance team currently employs 360 technical personnel, who are not promptly replacing body parts in accordance with rules,” the official added.
A driver from the MGR bus terminus in Koyambedu said, “The Corporation has won the Association of State Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU) awards for two consecutive years. But it has not made our lives easier. We sometimes work more than three shifts without proper breaks. This could be one of the reasons why such accidents occur.”
Managing Director, SETC, Baskaran, said, “There have been road accidents involving SETC employees in the past couple of years. But the number is not as high. Also, it is impossible to point out a reason for the accidents. There are various factors that contribute to the road mishaps.”