SRINAGAR: The passengers travelling on J&K State Road Transport Corporation’s bus service between New Delhi and Srinagar have complained of malpractices by the operating staff that inconveniences the passengers. They complain that the vehicles were being “illegally used as freight carriers” with drivers loading merchandise and other goods in New Delhi that does not belong to registered travelers.
The passengers also claimed that they are forced to keep most of their luggage in the vehicle and not in the designated back trunk since most of it is already occupied by the freight.
A passenger who had recently used the bus service to travel from New Delhi to Srinagar told Kashmir Reader that when he complained about the lack of space in the bus due to the passenger luggage, the driver argued with him.
“I told the two drivers that I would keep my luggage in the boot but they refused on account of space crunch. “When I insisted the drivers shouted at me,” said Burhan Farooq, a Rambagh resident.
Another passenger who frequently boards the bus said that it was “normal” for SRTC officials, especially drivers to transport the freight while the passengers’ luggage was stuffed beneath seats and on the walkway between the seats.
“You should travel in it once, you will realise how filthy they (buses) are,” he told this reporter.
The passenger also added that the bus carries stuff which people especially businessmen of Kashmir want to be transported from New Delhi.
“These are huge boxes which carry items sold at a lesser rate in Delhi, and the drivers along with the other staff at the SRTC’s Delhi office take a lot of money to do that, they have turned it into a freight service rather than a passenger bus service,” he said.
The journey takes around 24-28 hours and as such the passengers have to face a lot of inconvenience. Besides, even after passengers paying high fares (Rs 1500 for a seat, Rs 1670 for a sleeper berth), the buses, as witnessed by this reporter, are in bad shape, with out of order seats, tattered cushions and mats, and broken windows since the SRTC concerned officials hardly do anything for their repairs and daily upkeep.
Managing Director SRTC, G A Sofi told Kashmir Reader that special stickers have been pasted on every bus traveling from Srinagar to New Delhi or vice-versa wherein passengers have been asked to report any inconvenience or complaint they come across.
“So far no one has complained to us about the matter. If anyone encounters any kind of inconvenience, he or she should immediately convey the same to us so that we take appropriate action,” Sofi said.