What to do if public transport is under poor maintenance?

public transport

Large group of people migrate to cities in search for better educational institutions, job opportunities. As the cities are expanding day by day, this may be the cause for many problems. The main problem is traffic congestion. There are different opinions among people to build more roads to make a way for the growing number of vehicles, another opinion is to increase transport system. By implementing both the networks, it is easy to tackle the traffic problem in cities. It’s been said that improving the transport system is the most efficient ways in cities. When public transport like metros, buses and trains run on time and has better connection all around the cities. Then there will be decrease in use of private vehicles. When there are fewer vehicles in road, then traffic problem could be solved.

What can be done?

The public transport like bus, train, taxi, and auto rickshaw, metro.[i] The government has to regulate all these transport. Public transports are to be maintained properly for the use of people. In some cases the government do not do so. Many people are being affected by poor maintenance of buses, like poor engines, failure of brakes, not maintaining the seats, are not clean and hygienic.

Here are some ways to solve the issue of public transport. Group of people could file a PIL, when there is poor maintenance in public transport. The consumer could file an online complaint on their concerned State Transport Department. The State of Tamil Nadu,[ii] Kerala,[iii] and Maharashtra[iv] have provided the facilities to the public for filing a complaint online. Compensation can be claimed as it falls under tort of negligence and deficiency of service. The people could even approach consumer forum against the public transport.

Where the District Commission is satisfied that the goods complained against suffer from any of the defects specified in the complaint or that any of the allegations contained in the complaint about the services or any unfair trade practices, or claims for compensation under product liability are proved, to pay such amount as may be awarded by it as compensation to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party: Provided that the District Commission shall have the power to grant punitive damages in such circumstances as it deems fit (Section 39, Consumer Protection Act).[v]

In this case, The Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety has issued directions dated 18th August, 2015. The Committee has directed the States/undertakings and their concerned Departments to take the following action forthwith: the driving license should be suspended for not less than three months for

1. Driving at a speed exceeding the specified limit which in the Committee’s view would also include red light jumping

2. Carrying overload in goods carriage,

3. Carrying persons in goods carriage, drunken driving and

4. Using mobile phone

While driving under section 19, of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 read with Rule 21 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989.[vi]

Status of public transport

The majority of buses are run by State Road Transport. Where it has become old, the State Road Transport has stated that there is lack of funds to refurnish or replace it.  According to the report, it’s been said that most of SRTU’s are unprofitable. There are 54 SRTUs in India, in which only 7 are profitable.[vii] The investment required to upgrade bus transport in the 100 largest Indian cities exceeds ₹100,000 crore for around 150,000 new buses and upgraded ancillary transport infrastructure. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) was a potential game changer, but the results were mixed. There should be proper utilization of funds by SRTUs. The city authority, should implement regulatory reforms in public transport. Indian railways are not profitable, in Mumbai local train the total earnings is Rs. 5206.16 crore, the expenses was Rs.9486.66 crore. In last three years it has incurred Rs. 4280.50 crore expenses/losses. Metro rail projects never yield an investment return more than 2-3%. Delhi metro is not profitable. No metro in profitable unless supported by the government.

How can be improved

There is no doubt that existing public transport system should be improved. All nook and corner of the country should be connected. Just by increasing the roads and improving the public transports will not give complete solution to this problem. The government should take more steps in improving the technology. By implementing super fast trains would decrease the travel time. For instance, travelling from Kashmir to Kanyakumari on bus or train could take 4 or 5 days. Implementation of super fast trains would solve the problem. It is important to improve existing public transport system, as they are backbone to the economy. There are many other ways to improve public transport and here are some of them

Passengers comfort – The buses have to provide as many seats as possible for the riders. When passengers enjoy smooth riding they prefer to travel by bus.

Bus frequency – There can be frequent bus facilities. So there will be no rush among the passengers.

Hygienic – The bus are to be maintained well. The passengers prefer to travel by bus when it is maintained properly.

Feedback system – There should be platform for the riders to give feedback about the quality of service

Fares – The passengers are to be charged at affordable and reasonable cost.


As known factor the public transport in India is not properly maintained. There are many more improvements to be done by the government to attain higher standards. The government should allot proper funds to regulate the public transports. The government should inspect often whether they are properly maintained. Even when proper funds are allotted, are inefficiently utilized due to the regulatory regime that permits inefficient operating practices. The government has taken a lot of steps to improve this system.[viii]

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] https://www.justlanded.com/english/India/India-Guide/Travel-Leisure/Public-transport-in-India

[ii] https://tnsta.gov.in/transport/registerGrievanceLoad.do

[iii] https://smartweb.keralamvd.gov.in/kmvdnew/services/complaints/complainthome.php

[iv] https://www.consumercomplaints.in/maharashtra-state-road-transport-corporation-msrtc-b103127

[v] http://egazette.nic.in/WriteReadData/2019/210422.pdf

[vi] Ashish Gosain vs. Department Of Transport & Anr

[vii] https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/how-poor-operational-efficiency-bleeds-public-bus-transport-undertakings-in-india/story-3qi4Dm8f6BHKRzcoHMTwYK.html

[viii] https://ppiaf.org/sites/ppiaf.org/files/documents/toolkits/UrbanBusToolkit/assets/1/1d/1d1.html

Shantha Gopika R
I'm Shantha Gopika R pursuing B.com;LLB (Hons) from SASTRA Deemed to be University. My areas of interest are company law, family law and property law. I am a good listener. I like to learn new languages and prefer to do research on various topics. I am fascinated by music and thriller series