Private bus road rage on the rise in Ernakulam

A recent spate of high-handedness and road rage incidents involving private bus crews in Ernakulam district has left law enforcement personnel red-faced.

Thursday’s incident in North Paravur, in which a man collapsed and died when he saw the driver of a private bus recklessly drive out a knife and attack his son, is the latest in a series of incidents from this guy when the bus crew took the law into their own hands. The incident happened after the private bus driving recklessly on the Kozhikode-Ernakulam road slammed into the side mirror of a car the father-son duo were traveling in and an argument ensued.

Police investigation into the incident showed the bus driver, who fled shortly after the melee, brandished a knife and injured the young motorist.

“As this is criminal activity, the bus driver’s license would in all likelihood be revoked, after investigation by us. The Department of Motor Vehicles [MVD] is forced to resort to this measure because such actions by the crew of public service vehicles have multiple ramifications. Such behavior by bus crews is making a comeback, albeit on a larger scale, after the two-year pandemic lull,” said Salim Vijayakumar, Joint RTO, North Paravur.

The bus license will also be suspended, we learn.

Mr Vijayakumar had himself been the victim of high-handedness by bus drivers, after the driver of a KSRTC bus rammed the bus into his car earlier this year near Aluva, furious that the car crashed stops in front of a pedestrian crossing for a group of pedestrians to cross to the other side of the road. The driver did not stop after the incident. His license was suspended for three months.

Former journalist Rejeesh Rahman said a carelessly driven private bus slammed into the back of his car and collided head-on with another car coming from the opposite direction on Civil Line Road on Sunday morning. “I would have opted for a suitcase but the owner of the other car would have preferred not to. The police also tried to find a compromise, rather than bringing charges against the driver/owner of the bus, although CCTV footage showed that the bus driver was entirely at fault and none of the crew was wearing a uniform. Such a stance emboldens unscrupulous bus crews,” he said.

Just a fortnight ago, the crew of two buses clashed at the Vyttila Mobility Hub, for not respecting timetables, following which one of them stabbed another.

The traffic police said they have stepped up enforcement, investigated complaints against bus operators and followed guidelines issued by the Kerala High Court to curb overtaking and reckless driving of buses in the city. “Special campaigns are carried out to comply with the HC directive. Police and MVD have also started joint inspection of buses at terminals, to check if they are using prohibited horns and to keep an eye out for other rule violations,” said Rejo P. Joseph, Deputy Commissioner of the police (City Traffic-East).

Members of the public have been asked to share photos or videos of rule violations via the police’s Traffic Eye Whatsapp number 6238100100.

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