Thane: Auto-rickshaw drivers as well as drivers of civic-run buses have lodged verbal protest against private buses plying on the busy route between Ghodbunder Road and Thane railway station. While auto drivers rued that operators of these buses are gnawing into their business, drivers of Thane Municipal Transport (TMT) buses bemoaned lack of street discipline on part of such vehicles.
Several TMT officials said, “The traffic department and Regional Transport Office have the authority to crack down on these private buses, but they do not take any action because the fleet is reportedly owned by influential leaders.”
Problem worse during peak hours
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a TMT bus driver said, “It is a real problem which becomes worse during peak hours. The private buses halt at our stops so sometimes we are left with no option, but to either halt away from the stop or just skip halting. Even after honking several times they don't listen and sometimes pick up fights.”
Auto driver Manoj Maurya fumed, “As most private buses charge Rs18 for a one-way trip, passengers prefer them. We lose around Rs100 for a single trip. There are around 100 buses plying on this route.” Barring few, several buses blatantly ply without permits and also carry passengers beyond their capacity. There should be a check on them by the traffic police, he demanded.
One of the members of the auto union, who does not wish to be named, said, “Private buses halt at TMT bus stops, but if we stop there the traffic police will penalise us. When we complain to the authorities they take action for the time being and most of the buses are again back in business.”
Sunil Sharma, a frequent commuter of private buses, said, “It is convenient to board these buses from Ghodbunder to Thane station as the TMT bus service is never on time. It does not matter to me whether the bus is plying illegally if I get a better service at a minimum fare.”
Dr Vinaykumar Rathod, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) said, “All the claims are false. We take action against private buses operating without permits.”