A Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus fell off the Gemini flyover on Anna Salai at 2pm on Wednesday. Initial reports said at least 40 people were injured, some of them severely. No casualty has been reported so far.
Public transport in India is characterised by a wide range of vehicle type from nonmotorised modes such as cycle rickshaws to surface rail and metro. Both public and
private ownership exists; the scale is immense with 64 public sector road transport
undertakings operating a fleet in excess of 110,000 yet representing just 30% of the
national bus fleet.
Because of the size of India [1/4 million reported accidents leading to 60k fatalities and
over 1/4 million casualties in 1995] it was decided that the study should be restricted to the
State of Maharashtra. During the period 1961-1996 the registered motor fleet in the State
grew by over 40 times whilst the road network increased by 3.5 times; thus the growth in
vehicles far outpaced the growth of the road network and other infrastructure. As a
consequence, over the two decades 1975/95 the number of road accident fatalities
increased by 282% and injuries by 220%. Data for 1995 shows that buses and HGV’s
were involved in 35% of accidents, taxis cars and jeeps in 32%, two wheelers in 22% and
other vehicles in 11%.
Data were obtained from the State-owned Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation
(MSRTC) which operates bus services throughout the State in competition with privately
owned and Municipal bus companies. The MSRTC is the second largest operator in India
with a fleet of 17,073 buses, employing110,073 staff and carries 7.5 million passengers
daily. During the operational year 1996/7 MSRTC buses were involved in 4,149 accidents
and 688 fatalities ensued. Of these, the MSRTC management assessed that their driver
was at fault in almost 50% of accidents. Driver inexperience appears to be a probable
cause as 37% were aged between 24 and 32 and 46% had been driving for less than 4
The opinions of the various drivers, conductors traffic police, passengers interviewed
throughout the State suggested that the same probable causes relate to the Indian
situation as they do in Nepal and for the same reasons.