Kolkata: The Transportation department of West Bengal on Friday has announced a salary system for privatised bus drivers and conductors from August 1, 2018.
A system considered to be the biggest contributor to reckless racing of buses. Minister Suvendu Adhikari announced the decision after a meeting with senior transport department officials, senior police officers and bus, minibus and taxi operators. The minister at the meeting said the salary system would become effective within soon.
Earlier, it was said that the abolition of commission system, experts said, will free the entire bus operation system from the clutches of workers’ union.
“Bus workers’ unions efficiently decide the duty roster of bus labourers and supply drivers and conductors if the regular drivers or conductors skip duty. The abolition can be a disruptor of a well-oiled system, if workers unions are not taken into confidence during the implementation,” said transport economist Aniruddha Sarkar.
Significantly, buses are the biggest contributor to accidents on city streets. In the current system, the driver and conductor earns a percentage of the day’s total earning as their remuneration. As more passengers translate into greater income for the drivers and conductors, this system, police said, makes drivers reckless to pick up extra passengers, making the roads unsafe for all commuters.
Adhikari on Thursday constituted a steering committee with senior transport department officials and senior police officers, which will oversee the smoother implementation of the abolition process and transition to the salary system.
Significantly, the commission system prevails in five districts in greater Kolkata region — Kolkata, North & South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly. In the rest of the district, the salary system is in use.
Transport department will also prepare time table for every route, so that buses are evenly distributed. If necessary, routes will be rationalised so that each bus can earn enough to sustain the trade, said a transport department source.
Subhas Chakraborty and Madan Mitra as transport ministers had earlier tried to abolish it. The operators have now demanded guidelines from the state. “We will pay the salary but who will ensure that buses will be run on roads,” said Tapan Bandyopadhyay of Joint Council of Bus Syndicates.