Buses leased out to the Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS) by private contractors are drawing criticism for the public transport agency,owing to the high rate of accidents caused by the drivers of these buses,who are employed by the private contractors.
Between February 2008-2013,drivers on AMTS rolls caused 249 accidents,while drivers employed by private contractors caused 2,146 accidents. This was despite the privately employed drivers operating new buses,while the AMTS used its old fleet. As a consequence,AMTS shelled out Rs 7.47 crore in connection with these cases,though the payments are subject to final court order.
AMTS drivers are experienced and mature while private drivers are young people with no job security from their employers which causes more accidents, said Arjav Shah,Transport Manager.
We consider an accident as an accident only when it turns out to be fatal.,Shah said. Still,we take action like revoking the driving licence for six months,filing a police complaint and imposing penalties,he added.
Action taken by the AMTS to prevent such accidents include instructions to drivers to adhere to the prescribed speed limit and not using mobile phones while driving.
Earlier this year Arjav Shah,in a reply to former AMTS chairman and Congress councillor Surendra Baxi,had said no fresh appointments of drivers would be possible because of austerity measures. Following this,drivers were employed on a contractual basis at Rs 275 a day per driver.
Also,the AMTS faces a shortage of employees. As of February 2013,the AMTS had 2,593 employees against the sanctioned staff strength of 3,677,leaving 1,084 posts empty.
Presently,there are 679 daily wage drivers,240 contract drivers,532 daily wage conductors and over 1,400 contract conductors.