Ghaziabad: Why they must put lives at risk to catch the bus

  • | Sunday | 3rd December, 2023

GHAZIABAD: Commuters, particularly women and senior citizens, are forced to jaywalk through high-speed traffic as there are no designated bus halts on NH9 — one of the busiest in the city — for state buses and as a result, they stop at the foot of flyovers and in the middle of the road to pick up passengers, endangering the safety of hundreds of people daily.On Friday, TOI found buses coming from Anand Vihar ISBT halt randomly near UP Gate, Model Town, the CISF cut, Vijay Nagar junction and Chijarishi to pick up passengers leading to congestion and chaos on the road.Haphazardly parked autorickshaws and e-rickshaws, illegal hawkers and food stalls only add to the melee.Ram Singh, who works in Khora, said he wanted to take a roadways bus to his hometown in Amroha for his cousins wedding but did not know where the bus would stop. I just jumped the divider to stand near a crowd — also waiting for buses — hoping the driver will stop nearby to pick up a few passengers, he said.Khora and Indirapuram are important and busy areas so why cant there be dedicated bus halts in these areas, he asked.Kumari Sudha, a senior citizen, also waiting to catch a bus to Hapur on the highway near Vijay Nagar, said if a bus stand is built near the highway, then passengers will know the bus timings. I have been waiting on the road for an hour but did not get a bus yet, she said.Commuters, meanwhile, claim roadways buses and passengers waiting for them block the larger part of the speedway leading to chaos and congestion.Sachin Singh, a resident of Indirapuram, said the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and NH9 are speedways meant for fast-moving traffic. Drivers have to swerve when a group of people suddenly start running on the highway to board a bus. This often leads to accidents. At times when we honk these people refuse to clear the road, some even argue and abuse, he said. According to Keshri Nandan, the regional manager at Kaushambi bus depot, over 350 inter-district buses ply on NH9 and DME. There are no dedicated bus halts on the highway. Buses have to stop occasionally — near Khora, Indirapuram, Vijay Nagar among others — to pick up passengers otherwise complaints pile up on the Integrated Grievance Redressal System, he said.An NHAI official, who did not wish to be named, said there was no space on the NH9 for a bus stop. Jaywalk is a major concern on the stretch and traffic polices enforcement drives were the only way to stop it. But if the local authorities want to make some changes then we will consider the proposal, he said. ADCP (traffic) Ramanand Kushwaha TOI that the department conducts regular drives and challan bus drivers found driving rashly or parking illegally on NH9.The NHAI, which constructed the highway, did not create space bus halts or foot overbridges. So, passengers stand or walk along the busy stretch, even dash across it, to catch inter-state buses. There is a huge rush during the festive season, he said, adding that the department has shot several letters to NHAI.On March 14, a 40-year-old woman died after she was hit by an unidentified vehicle on the DME near Nurpur village in the Masuri area. Police later found that the woman was trying to cross the DME to reach NH9 when the incident happened. In several road safety meetings, the traffic department has raised this issue. We have proposed that the NHAI should increase the height of the central verge to prevent jaywalking, Kushwaha said.

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