Buses With AITP Can Have Multiple Pick Up Points? Explained!

A closer look at the MORTH’s notifications reveals that private buses with AITP can have multiple pick up points. Read in detail about the new rules of the All India Tourist permit for buses.

Buses With AITP Can Have Multiple Pick Up Points

How many “Permit Violation” challans did you pay last month for just picking up or dropping passengers?

If you are a bus operator, you are well aware of this perennial hassle.

Picking up or dropping off passengers along the way is an indispensable aspect of a long-distance bus service – it’s a routine job. Hence, authorities find it relatively easy to issue permit violation fines to private buses.

To make matters worse, the rules itself are not clear. Like most government rules, they are ambiguous and open to interpretations, which leads to confusion and varying enforcement practices.

End of the day, this lack of clarity results in unnecessary penalties for private bus operators.

As per the rules till now, buses with Contract Carriage Permits and Tourist Permits cannot make multiple stops to pick up passengers individually.

However, this is not the case with the All India Tourist Permit (AITP).

If you go through the rulebook closely, you will realize that you actually can pick up and drop passengers along the way with the All India Tourist Permit for buses.

If you are a bus operator, this article will immensely help you to understand the finer nuances of the permit rules.

To understand it properly, let’s start with the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1988. There are a few relevant points in this Act that will further help us understand the All India Tourist Permit rule clearly.

Central Motor Vehicles Rules,1989

The Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 which became effective from July 1, 1989, is an extremely important Act.

That is because it replaced a much earlier version of the Act – the 1939 British Indian version.

So naturally, the 1988 amendments witnessed major inclusions and updates.

Among them were comprehensive legislative provisions for State Transport undertakings and most importantly, permit-based control of motor vehicles.

To operationalize the legislative framework of this Act, the Government of India established the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 – the guidebook that rules the transport industry today.

To understand the content of this article we will look at rules 82 to 85A of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.

Rules 82 to 85A of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989

Sections 82 to 85A constitute Chapter IV of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989. This chapter exclusively discusses the Control of Transport Vehicles – Tourist Permits.

As you can guess, this chapter lays down the rules and regulations governing the operation of tourist buses in India.

Let’s take a look at two of the most important points in this chapter:

  • Section 85 Point 6: The tourist vehicle shall not be parked on any bus stand used by stage carriage and shall not operate from such bus stand.
  • Section 85 Point 9: The permit holder shall not operate the tourist vehicle as a stage carriage.

To sum it up, rules 82 to 85A state that a bus with tourist permit can neither be parked in a stage carriage stand nor can it operate as a stage carriage i.e., it cannot pick up passengers on its way.

Now, let’s take a look at the amendments that came in April 2023, called the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023.

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All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules 2023

After the Covid-19 pandemic upended the transport segment in India, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) introduced the All India Tourist Vehicles (Authorization & Permit) Rules, 2021 on March 10, 2021.

According to the Ministry of Roads Transport and Highways, the new amendments are aimed at “providing seamless movement to tourist passenger vehicles to promote tourism in India.

In the following years, this notification was superseded by two more notifications – G.S.R 815(E) and G.S.R. 302(E) in November 2022 and April 2023 respectively.

For the relevance of this article, we will take a look at the latest notification called the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules 2023 published on on April 18, 2023.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways published a notification in the Gazette of India

The notification says, “These rules may be called the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules 2023. They shall come into force on the 1st May, 2023.”

Now let us look at two relevant clauses of All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules 2023:

  • Clause 6 – Scope and Validity of Permit – Point 2: The All India Tourist Permit shall be used for the transport of tourists individually or in a group, along with their personal luggage.
  • Clause 13 – Exemption – Point 1: The conditions prescribed in rules 82 to 85A B shall not apply to the All India Tourist Permits granted under these rules.

And what did rules 82 to 85A of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989 dictate? That tourist permit buses cannot operate as stage carriage i.e., they cannot pick up passengers on their way.

This essentially means that:

  • These buses can be parked and operated from any bus stand used by stage carriage buses.
  • The permit holder can operate the tourist vehicle as a stage carriage and pick up passengers along the way

So yes, technically, buses with AITP can have multiple pick up points to pick up or transport tourists individually.

So, the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules, 2023 reiterates that if the bus is running under AITP, it can operate as a stage carriage.

HC Rules that Even Contract Carriages can have Multiple Pick up Points

Indo Canadian Bus With All India Tourist Permit

An interesting anecdote that I want to highlight here is the High Court of Punjab and Haryana‘s 2022 ruling that “there is no embargo on a contract carriage bus to pick up or drop passengers who are included in the contract”

On January 27, 2022, three Indo Canadian buses plying between Amritsar and Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi had their permits cancelled for picking up passengers from different locations.

As per the State Transport Authority, these buses violated the conditions for contract carriage permit.

Indo Canadian Transport Co., approached the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and stated that the seizure of permits is in violation of the All-India Tourist Vehicles (Authorization or Permit) Rules, 2021.

The company clarified that their buses don’t operate as stage carriages, as they don’t charge passengers for different journey stages.

Tourists with pre-arranged contracts pay a fixed amount for the entire Amritsar-New Delhi trip. It’s just that they can choose a convenient pick-up point.

This aligns with the 2021 rules, which allow vehicles to transport individual tourists from diverse pick-up locations.

The HC ruled in favor of Indo Canadian Transport and ordered that all three permits be restored.

The bench of justice headed by Raj Mohan Singh noted that since the company had already prepared the list of passengers before the journey, “all the passengers were included in the contract“.

Therefore, Indo Candian didn’t violate its contract carriage permit.

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Verdict: Buses With AITP Can Have Multiple Pick Up Points?

Going by the All India Tourist Vehicles (Permit) Rules 2023, a bus with AITP can have multiple pick up points and dropping points.

However, we know that, at the end of the day, the practical application often hinges on the discretion of the officer on duty.

But remember, knowledge is your greatest asset. With this understanding of the finer nuances, you are now in a strong position to advocate for your rights.

If faced with a situation where you are harassed by authorities or issued a “Violation Permit” challan, don’t hesitate to escalate the matter to higher authorities.

Your diligence in upholding your rights can pave the way for a smoother and more transparent system for all operators in the industry.

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2 Comments

    1. Glad that you liked it Sir. We would request you to share it with your industry friends so that all can know about it.

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