It's a common sight for anyone who travels by road. Private inter-city buses stopping for long periods at busy spots to pick up travelers. Not one vehicle or two, but several buses parking one beside the other, blocking multiple lanes, unconcerned that they are blocking traffic on the stretch.
Some days ago, dna recorded this illegal practice by bus operators at four places in the city – at Dadar, Elphinstone, Sion and Chembur.
Diamond Gardens worst case
Diamond Gardens, Chembur, was perhaps the worst case. After 7pm buses were parked three abreast on the four-lane Sion-Trombay road. As time went by this got worse, with several buses rolling in till as late as 11pm.
Private luxury buses stopping at Diamond Gardens pick up travelers going to Pune, Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Aurangabad, religious centres like Nashik, Nanded and Shirdi, hill stations like Mahabaleshwar, and beyond Maharashtra to Goa, Belgaum, Bangalore, Mangalore, Hyderabad in the south, Gujarat and Rajasthan in the north.
Similar blocks elsewhere
Buses stopping on the crowded Senapati Bapat Marg at Elphinstone cause similar blockages at different times of the day. The period after 6 in the evening is the worst. It's a similar story at different spots in Dadar as well as in Sion.
What are cops doing about it?
The traffic policemen this correspondent spoke to said they receive complaints from motorists and residents and have warned the ticket booking offices, where private buses halt, for causing a nuisance.
"The operators promise to avoid making a problem. But as it is not possible to post a constable continuously, they soon return to their errant ways," one police official said. "The ticket agents blame the drivers and vice versa."
Traffic police chief promises action
When dna raised the matter with Dr BK Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (traffic), he asked that those who have a problem should inform the traffic control room and promised action.
"We will take strict action against any bus operator responsible for causing inconvenience and flouting the norms," he said.