Chandigarh: Three deaths involving CTU buses put drivers’ skill under scrutiny

Three fatal accidents and a severely injured motorcyclist in the past month have raised concerns regarding the training of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) bus drivers.

Pushpinder Singh Sidhu of Ludhiana fell from a moving bus near Shivalik Hotel, Sector 17 and later succumbed to injuries on May 15. A motorcyclist, Ashu of Hallomajra, was killed after colliding head-on with a CTU bus in Sector 47 on June 1. Another motorcyclist, Ashish Kumar, died after being hit by a long route CTU bus near Dakshin Marg on June 21.

About 358 CTU buses run locally and are driven by outsourced drivers; another 100 are designated as long-route buses and are driven by CTU’s permanent drivers. Two of the three fatal accidents happened on local routes.

“We are very strict about the involvement of our drivers in road accidents. We do follow the policy of placing negligent drivers under suspension with immediate effect and ordering a departmental probe against the person. We immediately replaced the outsourced driver found involved in the road accidents. In one of the recent fatal accidents, we replaced the driver. If the driver is a permanent employee of CTU, we do not allow him to drive the bus till the probe is completed. Our proceedings are separate from the criminal proceedings initiated by the local police,” Pradhuman Singh, Director of Transport, said.

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Harman Sidhu, a road safety expert, said, “There could be many reasons behind these road accidents. Indeed, negligence on the part of drivers can not be ruled out. There is a need to make the drivers sensitive towards two-wheeler riders, cyclists and pedestrians.”

Senior Superintendent of Police (traffic) Manisha Chaudhary said, “Based on the analysis of fatal accidents involving CTU drivers, we are planning to hold a workshop for all department bus drivers to educate them on basic aspects of safe driving. We will coordinate with the transport department in this regard.”

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