MINI BUSES : LIFE LINE OR DEATH RIDE

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DSC_6580 copy.jpgparshotamBy Parshotam Bhardwaj

The unruly attitude of Mini Buses (Matadors) in the winter capital of the Jammu and Kashmir state leads to chaotic traffic jams and road accidents in the city.
As the Jammu city is already overburdened with around 40000 more vehicles due to Darbar move, the most famous and affordable transport of the city (Matador) is becoming headache for the private vehicle owners due to their unorganized way of driving and overloading of the passengers. This attitude of these matador drivers leads to irritating traffic jams with long queues of vehicles and also raising the toll of the daily accidents in the city.
No doubt the matadors are the lifeline of the Jammu city but the rowdy attitude of Mini Buses which are commonly called as Matadors that run on the road can call road mishaps and list of other problems any time. The irony of the situation is that the traffic department despite their soaring claims has failed miserably to restrain the threat. Overloading in buses, mini buses and tempos goes on unchecked, not just in rural areas but also in the heart of the city also, where one can find ‘men in blues’ at a shouting distance who have miserably failed to curb the menace for the reasons best known to them. There is not a shadow of doubt in the fact that these mini buses also called as Matadors play a very important role of being the life line of the city. Ask any jammuite, he will surely tell you that he can’t imagine Jammu city without matador running on its road but then he will also complain of the rowdy attitude of its drivers. Take any one driver, talk to the one, you will feel like talking to one of the king of the city. They don’t care for any one. They ain’t afraid of anyone not even the traffic cops. They overload, halt anywhere, their unorganized way of driving, everything is just creating more chaos on the roads.
Ask any Jammuite, he will surely tell you that he can’t imagine Jammu city without matador running on its road but then he will also complain of the rowdy attitude of its drivers. Not Just this but the passenger vehicle operators had also resorted to various tactics in creating more space than the seating capacity in their vehicles to generate “extra income”, forgetting the risk to lives of passengers. Overloading in the passenger vehicles is going on to such an extent that passengers can be seen clinging to body of mini buses, hanging on stairs of vehicles and even sitting on the roof tops, which may give more earnings to the transporters but making passengers prone to accidents can be seen on Janipur , Kot -Bhalwal route. Overloading is a very serious problem in these mini buses.On complaining, the illiterate drivers either abuse or tell us to get out of the matador.
Also there is no use of complaining to the traffic police as they seem to have become a mute spectator to the violation. Leave aside mini buses and buses, overloading in newly introduced ‘loading tempos’, being used to ferry passengers from one place to another in rural and semi-urban areas, is quite visible and dangerous, but the authorities seem to be reluctant in initiating action against the violators. Plus the rowdy attitude of public vehicle drivers adds to the woes. They don’t know the traffic rules. They don’t care of the traffic lights. They drive however they want to and halt where ever they wish. They don’t follow their route. They cause long traffic jams. They don’t care for the other vehicles on the road and this causes most of the road mishaps in the city. Matadors are a mess. These should be banned. The govt. should adopt some other mean of public transport in place of these matadors. The Motor Vehicles Department of Jammu has passed mini buses with the maximum seating capacity of 23 people inside the city area and 15 people on the outskirts like Janipur, Muthi, Narwal etc. But accommodating more than 70 passengers per drive is a very common practice in these mini buses.
Traffic alone can’t play vital role without the support of other departments, municipality and citizens of Jammu. Municipality is also playing key role, which forces people to walk on road not on footpaths. Municpal Office are not taking care of Footpaths as the foot path are covered by the shopkeepers displaying their items.
Even though Traffic department has installed road dividers in Janipur area , these Matador drivers are not co-operating with passengers. Traffic Department should take strict action against the faulty drivers.
We should not put all the responsibility on Traffic Police, being the citizen of Jammu we should think before driving any vehicle. 40% of two wheeler drivers don’t have License and drive vehicle rashly. Government should amend rules. One can only buy the vehicle if he/she has driving License.

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