OWNERS of public transports, at least some of them, appear to be sidestepping punitive action, legal or administrative, by tying up with other bus companies leaving the ones that face bans or restrictions after causing fatal traffic accidents. The authorities concerned, as New Age reported on Saturday, took action against two companies running city service buses — Suprabhat Pvt Ltd and Jabal-e-Noor Paribahan — after the buses had caused fatal accidents earning a ban on the operation of the entire fleet. But some owners of the buses that ran under Suprabhat Pvt Ltd are reported to be running under Victor Classic Paribahan, which operates on the same route. This constitutes a flagrant breach of the government order on part of the bus owners and a glaring failure of the authorities concerned by way of poor or no oversight on the implementation of the ban or restrictions. A Suprabhat bus ran over a university student on Pragati Sarani at Badda in the capital on March 19 and the government restricted the movement of all buses that ran under the company the next day until further notice. A Victor Classic bus on September 7 hit two young people, leaving one dead and the other critically wounded, at Uttara and another bus of the company on September 5 hit a man, the father of the young man who survived the September 7 accident, leaving him dead at Uttara.
The buses that caused the September accidents may not be the ones owned by the Suprabhat owner who joined Victor Classic, but such an instance — there could be more like this yet unknown to the authorities — adds to the chance of traffic accidents. Because only 18 out of the 163 Suprabhat buses are reported to have valid documents and run by drivers having heavy vehicle licences and only 10 out of the 29 Jabal-e-Noor buses are reported to have all the papers valid. The Bangladesh Road Transport Owners’ Association seeks to say that route permits are issued against companies, and not buses, and as the route permits are not cancelled, owners did paint jobs and changed the names to run the buses under Victor Classic Paribahan. The Road Transport Authority, however, says that the buses of Suprabhat and Jabal-e-Noor will not run on Dhaka roads until the bans are withdrawn. It also says that it is illegal to run buses of one company under another company without the permission of the authorities concerned. And the authorities are not aware that Suprabhat buses now run as Victor Classic after fresh paint jobs. The authorities have, however, cancelled the registration number of the bus that caused the September 5 accident and the licence of the driver.
While a situation like this adds to the risks of traffic accidents, it also warrants that the authorities should immediately look into the issue and take punitive action accordingly. But what the authorities must see is that their bans or restrictions on aberrant and errant public transport owners and companies are stringently implemented and all other issues centring such a situation are properly shored up.
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