Of these, 681 complaints came from students and 196 from oldaged pensioners against conductors/drivers who behaved rudely and who, at times, deliberately refuse to take them on board at bus stops.
The figures were revealed in parliament yesterday by the Minister of Public Infrastructure, National development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping Anil Bachoo following a question from PMSD MP, Ms Aurore Perraud.
Enquiries have led to licences being suspended for periods varying from two weeks to six months depending on the seriousness of the offence.
In total, 77 drivers, 134 conductors and 14 bus owners have been sanctioned.
Following the introduction of the free transport scheme for oldaged pensioners and students in 2005, a Central Monitoring Committee comprising representatives of the National Transport Authority (NTA), different ministries and bus operators was set up to look into problems arising from its implementation.
All major problems relating to free transport are dealt with at the level of this standing Monitoring Committee, explained Minister Bachoo.
The main findings of the Committee:
However, Mr Bachoo told the National Assembly, no case of drivers under the influence of drugs has been reported. In the light of these findings, the following actions have been
In addition to disciplinary action initiated against bus crew and bus operators, the following preventive measures are also being taken:
BUS CREWS AND OWNERS SANCTIONED
“On the operational side, bus operators have been requested to submit details of their monthly trips and any operator performing trips below the average for any route is penalised,” added the minister.
As such, it is ensured that there are no missing trips on any route for the benefit of old-aged pensioners. Mr Bachoo also revealed that deductions have been made from the payment of bus operators.
“In 2007, some Rs10.4 million has been deducted, in 2008, Rs5.7m, 2009, Rs4.8m and 2010, Rs5.8m.” The National Transport Authority has negotiated the provision of dedicated school buses for a certain number of colleges which are situated at a distance from main bus stops. Some 478 such buses are operated daily carrying about 35,000 students.