Even after multiple rounds of conciliatory talks and warnings by authorities, some of the inter-district private bus operators are yet to facilitate convenient travel of students on concession tickets.
In many locations, the students are in a situation to seek the support of political organisations to stop buses and warn the bus workers.
The number of road scuffles is also on the rise on city and rural routes where irate students lock horns with the bus crew. Three recent flash strikes called by local bus operators indicate that the majority of them are not ready to accept the demands of students in the name of operational loss.
“The police and Motor Vehicles Department squads are well aware of the students’ struggle on the road, but they never try to stop any of the inter-district buses that speed away on seeing students. There should be spot action to correct the bus workers,” alleges Mini Varghese, mother of a Class 5 girl in the city. She points out girl students are in a situation to wait for hours for the mercy of bus operators.
Unable to argue with the conductors, some of the college students are reportedly making full payment without using concession benefits. The bus operators are also very keen to pick such students. Only such students are allowed to sit and travel as the denial of seats to concession ticket holders is still continuing as an unwritten rule.
“Citing the availability of city buses, no inter-district limited bus operators are permitting the entry of students. They never stop near any of the educational institutions in the city limits. It is at a time when there are many students who come to the city from distant locations,” said Athul Bhaskaran, a civil engineering student in the city. He said that there should be at least two or three compulsory stops for inter-district buses for picking students.
Meanwhile, some of the bus operators said that the presence of excess number of concession ticket holders prevents long-distance passengers from using their service, causing huge operational loss. They added that the entry of a large number of students to a particular bus alone after the school hours cannot be entertained.
The traffic police and Motor Vehicles Department officials said the students who get stranded on the road with the non-cooperation of bus operators should pass the details of such vehicles to the available helplines for spot action. The support of highway patrol squads will be sought to intercept such vehicles and initiate further action, they said.