Goa does not have a well organized public transport system in the place till today. Taking into account the amount of development is taking place in this tiny state the public transportation system has not even evolved a bit. The capital city of Panaji itself does not have the organized public transport facility. The city buses plying in the town are not up to the mark, they are always overloaded with the passengers. The duration of commuting from Miramar to Bus stand is close to the time taken to travel from Mapusa to Panaji or sometimes even more.
The monsoon has just arrived and schools have reopened, this has created an extra load on the buses, which is already overcrowded by the school and college students, and the commuters do not have the options but to hang onto the overcrowded buses to arrive at their destinations. Now the packed busses are not an unknown story for the people of Goa as they have been traveling in this for more than 2 decades. This scenario is worse in the suburban and village areas of Goa where the frequencies of buses plying on these routes are inadequate.
Despite the norms set by the transport department the buses continues to be packed with the standing passengers beyond the permissible limits and are violating the rules. The seats reserved for the senior citizens and women are most of the time are occupied by the male commuters. People do not have any alternative options left for them as the travel by taxis and rickshaw is not affordable. “The bus connectivity is good. But, the buses do not leave until the bus is packed to capacity. This leads to a waste of time for commuters,” said, a local resident.
Since the major share of public transport system in Goa is dominated by the private operators the rivalry and competition among them adds to disasters “Some conductors fight among themselves and surround the commuters, forcing them to board their bus and not that of the rival,” said another resident. Despite of the repeated complaints from public, the buses are often moved at an unhurried pace. Passengers alleged that a man on foot can overtake a bus in motion, as it makes unscheduled stops en route.
According to the reports available the pick pocketing and molestation is common scenario in the over packed buses. It is also a known fact that the private bus operators do not issue the valid tickets to the passengers. Sandeep B Desai, assistant director of transport, South Goa, said, “We have a helpline for the redressal of grievances of commuters and if we are notified of any problems, our inspector on duty will look into the matter.”
The public transportation plays the crucial role in the suburbs of Goa. The places like Cuncolim, Carmona, Calangute and Seraulim where the buses ply every half an hour or one hour for the students who rely mainly on the public transport missing a bus could mean a lot to them as it can affect their attendance in the schools and colleges.
The suburban areas have another issue where the villagers have to walk over half an hour to reach the main road from where they can catch the buses. “If we have to go to town for some urgent work, we cannot rely on the buses as their trip frequency ranges from an hour to two hours,” said the passenger. “There are no taxis or pilots available in our area and even if they are available, the rates are unreasonable and hardly anybody avail their service,” said Mackwin Souza, a resident of Seraulim.
The transport department has come out with the explanation over the prevailing situation saying that all rickshaw and pilots will now follow a metering system soon. “Since meters need continuous monitoring and sometimes the meters flag, we decided to display the rates that these drivers should charge,” said Desai. “if in case they overcharge the penalty of Rs. 2000/- will be levied on and the gravity of the offence will measure the intensity of the punishment” he added.
People in the state are praying for the organized transpiration system to make their travel smooth and safe. . “Most of the buses in my area are in a very bad condition and they need to be changed,” said Ibha Gupta, student of Goa university and a resident of Vasco. “We have made a study and have demarcated proper bus stops in the state and will soon be notifying the bus owners,” said officials in the directorate of transport. Sandeep Dessai also said that the office will permit more vehicles to operate in villages if the panchayats and other governing bodies of the area give an official statement for the same.
It is the normal practice of the authorities to formulate the promises to cool down the agitated people but something did not happened for more than two decades can it change overnight? It means that if you are using the public transport then you may still need to carry on with the exiting setup for some more time, who knows these promises might come true? Please do leave your most valuable comments.