CHENNAI: Commuters will no longer have the discomfort of sitting in double seats in MTC buses and mofussil services operated by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations, as the State government has proposed a new design for seats in ordinary buses. The buses will have two single seats side by side, instead of two seats joined, as it is at present.
Aimed at improving the standard of public transportation and providing better facilities, the Centre has made it mandatory for both State-owned and private bus body building units to obtain Automotive Industry Standard 052 code, a uniform standard code for building new buses. The Central Motor Vehicles (Accreditation of bus body builders) order 2012 was then amended, and it came into effect in August 2015.
In Tamil Nadu, a prototype of the new design has already been built at the Karur body building unit and is awaiting AIS 052 code. The body confirms to the parameters prescribed by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).
Transport department sources said the proposed prototype will have fewer seats as compared to the seating capacity in current city and mofussil buses. “The number of seats in ordinary services of city buses will be brought down to 37 as against the present 40, while TNSTC mofussil buses will have 51 seats instead of 57,” said sources.
As per the new design, two to three seats in the second last row facing the rear footboard will be removed. “Creating more space from the second-last row would enable passengers to approach the emergency window easily. This will provide ample space for commuters above six feet and they will be able to sit comfortably in the last row,” said sources.
In addition, the present five seats by the side of the driver will be reduced to three. The emergency window in the rear side will be accessible both inside and outside the bus. The sliding windows will be a standard design for all buses and pneumatic doors will be made mandatory for all buses. The driver will have control over the doors. Officials said, once the ARAI approves the prototype, all the buses built at 23 TNSTC body building units for MTC and TNSTC will have the new design. “We expect new buses to hit the road in another one year,” said an officer.
Earlier, bus body builders manufactured the coaches and then applied for certification at ARAI. However, under the new code, the builder is allowed to build the bus only after getting design approved by ARAI, the sources said. At present, only super low floor (SLF) buses (deluxe buses), Volvo buses operated in cities and SETC buses have automatic doors, single seats, and emergency exits.
The other ordinary buses and moffusil buses, which account for about 80 per cent of the fleet capacity, do not have any such provision. While the State has a fleet of 23,078 buses, MTC operates 3,685, which include 1,131 deluxe services and 92 Volvos.
Centre makes it mandatory for both State-owned and private bus body building units to obtain AIS 052 code, a uniform standard code for building new buses
Prototype of new design already built at Karur body building unit, awaiting AIS 052 certification
Prototype has fewer seats as compared to the current city buses: 37 instead of 40 for ordinary city service buses; 51 instead of 57 in TNSTC mofussil buses
As per the new design, two to three seats in the second last row facing the rear footboard will be removed
The present five seats by the side of the driver will be reduced to three