In an early morning swoop by Transport Department officials on Tuesday, six buses belonging to a private travel agency and two educational institutions were seized for operating without valid documents.
Of the confiscated vehicles, three buses belonged to the city-based Kaleswari Travels, two to Chaitanya Techno School and one to Lingaya Management Institute.
‘No valid records’
“These buses are operating without valid records. We’ll serve notices on the owners and wait for further instructions from the departmental higher-ups since this is part of a centralised drive to regulate private operators,” A. Mohan, Deputy Transport Commissioner (DTC), said.
The officials formed three groups and fanned to three entry-exit points in the city – Nandigama toll gate, old RTA check-post at Ibrahimpatnam, and near Kanaka Durgamma Vaaradhi.
“We have checked nearly 25 inter-State and intra-State services. These buses are operating in violation of the stipulated norms. Some of them do not have fitness certificate, some are not carrying the list of passengers and, in some, the list of names do not match with the persons travelling in the bus,” said Mr. Mohan.
Apparently jolted by a series of road accidents involving buses of private travel and tour agencies, the transport authorities have woken up to the need to regulate private operators.
For the first time, deviating from the past practice of checking moving vehicles on the road, the transport authorities scrutinised office records of 16 major private travel agencies by raiding their 30 offices in the city on Monday.
The officials in teams headed by an RTO, two motor vehicle inspectors, three constables, a photographer, and a videographer, visited premises of these offices at Hanumanpet, Old Bus Stand area, Benz Circle, and Gayathrinagar and verified records.
“We wanted to see the pattern followed by them to book and cancel tickets, how much money is charged and other details,” said Mr. Mohan.
Recalling the recent bus accident en route Shirdi which claimed many lives, the DTC pointed out that the vehicle was registered at Bangalore in Karnataka and it met with an accident in Maharashtra.
The passengers from Andhra Pradesh who were travelling by it had booked tickets online through these travel agencies.
“Our hearts went all out for the victims who died in the accident, but we could not rise to the occasion in time. How can we regulate these bus services,” he said.
The whole exercise of the raids followed by information-gathering was aimed at evolving a mechanism to regulate private operators within the framework of the Motor Vehicle Act, he added.