The deadline for installing an emergency door in luxury buses ends on April 30. However, the state transport department is firm not to extend it though many private operators are yet to fall in line.
From May 1, no buses, neither state-run nor private will be allowed to ply in the City without the emergency exit door. The transport department has directed all the bus operators to ensure that their bus fleet are fitted with the emergency exit or else face legal proceedings.
The previous February deadline was extended after the private bus operators requested time to carry out the modification on individual buses. The elections also came in handy for the operators to buy some time.
Transport Commissioner K Amaranarayan said, from May 1 buses which do not have emergency exit door in accordance with the department orders will not be allowed to ply in the City and action will be taken against the owners if they flout the orders on the sly.
Sources said that while the State-owned Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had already got the emergency exit door installed in its fleet of luxury buses, many private bus operators are yet to comply. Citing various reasons, the operators have been trying to meet Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy to buy some more time.
The directive to all the bus operators came from the transport minister himself after a meeting with the private bus operators association and KSRTC officials on November 17 last year after two back to back incidents of luxury buses catching fire and claiming 53 lives in two separate incidents in Mahabubnagar and Haveri within a gap of a fortnight.
In both the incidents, on October 30 near Mahabubnagar and on November 14 near Haveri, it was found that more lives could have been saved had the buses been installed with emergency exit door.
With both the buses being Volvo Multi Axle buses, there were exits on the rooftop and the breakable windows were too high for the people to jump out. It was then that the officials realised the need for an emergency exit door in the bus at a suitable height.