Pradeep Pattanayak

Days after Odisha’s leading news channel OTV reported about the possibility of bus passengers being fleeced, the Odisha Transport Commissioner has directed the bus owners to display information regarding distance, fare payable, name of the route, and nature of service inside the bus. 

The Transport Commissioner in his letter said, “Instances have come to the notice that some of the bus operators are collecting excess fare and not operating services on given routes violating permit conditions causing inconvenience to the travelling public. Some of the stage carriages are terminating at intermediate places without touching the destination for which permit is granted.”  

Terming the collection of extra fare as illegal, the Commissioner said, “Every passenger has the right to know the route on which the vehicle is plying, nature of service, and fare payable while boarding the bus. Such information is required to be displayed inside the bus for the convenience of passengers.” 

He directed all stage carriages plying in the State to display the name of the route, nature of service, distance, and fare payable inside the bus as per the given proforma from May 15. 

“Any violation will attract penal action under M.V. Act, 1988 and rules made there under,” the Commissioner said in his letter. 

OTV had reported about different road signs showing different distances between Bhubaneswar and Puri. At Sisupalgarh, the road sign put up by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) mentioned the distance between Bhubaneswar and Puri was 52 kilometers. The road sign put up by the State government’s Works Department claimed the distance between the two cities to be 50 kilometers. Then there's a milestone that pegged the distance between the two cities at 56 kilometers.

Amid such ambiguity, questions were raised as to how the buses are charging the passengers with such discrepancies in quoted distance between two places.

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