KSRTC inches closer to installing emergency exits in Volvo buses

KSRTC inches closer to installing emergency exits in Volvo buses

One door to be at rear, another opens into a ladder on the pattern of airplanes

KSRTC inches closer to installing emergency exits in Volvo buses

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has moved closer to abiding by a government directive on installing emergency exit doors in its luxury buses.

KSRTC officials said that the global manufacturer, Volvo, recently sent a communication, stating that it had come up with designs for emergency doors in the buses. One of the designs is for an emergency door at the rear, the other one on the pattern of airplanes in which the door opens into a ladder. KSRTC officials even visited Volvo’s plant at Hoskote near here and a final decision in this regard is expected shortly.

N Manjunath Prasad, the KSRTC Managing Director, said that the corporation would very soon finalise the design and replicate the same on its buses at its regional workshops.

It may be recalled that the State government had set a February deadline for the KSRTC and all private operators to instal emergency door/exit in their luxury buses. The directions on emergency doors were given by the Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy following the back-to-back fire accidents involving Volvo buses.

On October 30, 45 passengers were burnt alive when a private tourist Volvo bus caught fire after hitting a culvert near Mahabubnagar in Andhra Pradesh. After the incident, the Transport Department officials here had concluded that an emergency exit door in the Volvo bus could have saved the passengers’ lives. Another Volvo bus caught fire in a similar accident near Haveri on November 14. Seven passengers perished in that accident while many others jumped down via the roof emergency exit.

Sohanjeet Randhawa, Volvo India Buses, Head of Marketing, said, “We will give options to private bus operators as well as the KSRTC to either get the emergency doors installed at our plants or get them replicated on their own. We are working out the costs for getting it done at Volvo plant.”

A former transport department official said that Volvo had not installed emergency exit doors between 2003 and 2006, as mandated by the then Rule 128 (4) of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989. The rule also provided for an emergency exit at the rear windscreen, which Volvo claims to have adhered to. But this exit was at least nine feet above the ground from outside, making it very difficult for passengers to jump out.

While the KSRTC has 490 Volvo and 30 Mercedes Benz buses, about 450 Volvo buses are run by private bus operators who are also in the process of getting the middle emergency door installed in their fleet by the mid-February deadline.