Since the launch of the SMS complaint facility, the service has evoked a poor response with the department recording a decline in the number of public complaints received since its launch. As many as 255 bus operators were fined by the transport department in the last two-and-a-half years based on complaints received from commuters through SMS complaint service. However, since the launch of the service, only 448 people have used this platform to complain against public transport. On an average, only 14-15 commuters file such complaints which have now reduced to seven complaints registered every month.
The department, in the last two years, received 19 e-mails regarding the poor functioning of SMS facility wherein public were unable to make SMS complaints and also no acknowledgment message was received for complaints made to the enforcement authority. According to the sources, The department received a total of 148 complaints in the year 2015, which is a decline of almost 50 percent from the 280 complaints lodged in 2014. However, this year, till date, only 21 complaints have been received.
The SMS service was launched with an idea to rectify complaints speedily and also ensuring not to keep complaints pending for more than 30 days but unfortunately as many as 80 complaints of more than a year old are still pending with the department for compounding of offense. The complaints were mostly against erring bus drivers and conductors for not issuing tickets, not wearing uniform and badge, making unauthorized halts, non-operation of buses in time, non-display of fare chart, playing loud music on the bus and so on. According to the source, In one instance, the department suspended the permit of a stage carriage bus for a period of ten days as the conductor did not issue tickets and was not wearing uniform and badge.
The concerned department, however, has collected fines amounting to Rs 1.03 lakh with a penalty ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 3000. A unique 24×7 SMS complaint service was launched by the transport department wherein public could complain against the errant bus, taxi, auto rickshaw drivers and other road users by sending an SMS GOADOTRTOCODEVEHICLENUMBERCOMPLAINT on 51969. However, once the SMS is sent, the information is registered on the SMS complaint software developed by ITG, and also sends action taken report via SMS to the complainant.
According to the transport department official, on receipt of the complaint, investigation, and physical verification is carried out by the executive staff and if the facts reported are found to be true, a checking report is issued, which means a memo. Subsequently, the checking report is compounded by imposing fine.
In the case of non-detection of the vehicle on physical verification, a show cause notice is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle by concerned RTO and after conducting a hearing, further action is taken in the matter.