CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) received a batch of 100 new buses after a gap of four years, on Friday. Chief Minister M K Stalin inaugurated the 100 refurbished buses, which are equipped with roof-mounted fans for drivers and seat belts for commuters in the last row, among other special features. Each bus, according to a statement, has been refurbished at a cost of Rs 14.96 lakh.
The renovated buses have been allocated to Villupuram (16), Salem (15), Kumbakonam (37), and Tirunelveli (32), and will ply on mofussil routes. “This is the first time a roof-mounted fan has been introduced for drivers,” said a driver from Salem division. Commuters seated in the last row of the bus experience jerk at pits and potholes on the road. They often lose balance when the bus catches up speed. “For the first time, seat belts have been introduced for all five seats in the last row,” added the driver.
This also marks the commencement of an initiative to renovate a total of 1,000 buses. “The remaining 900 refurbished buses will be rolled out in five phases by year end. The first phase will see 150 buses, followed by 200 in the second, third and fourth phases, and finally 150 buses in the fifth phase,” said a senior official from the transport department, and added that the vehicles will have the same lifespan as brand-new buses. In addition to enhanced space for luggage in the last row and improved cushioning, the buses have widened electronic display boards and modified hand holders.
Apart from ensuring the passengers’ convenience, the buses are also easy to maintain. A bus driver from the Villupuram corporation said, “In conventional buses that ply on mofussil routes, the spare tire (stepney) is fixed at the bottom of the vehicle near the rear wheels, and its replacement was a cumbersome job. Now, a new compartment has been added beneath the vehicle with a side door for easy access.” He added that the driver’s cabin also has easy access to bus doors and other operations.
Electro-pneumatic doors - cylinders, directional control valves, and flow control valves - have been fitted atop the doors. “These used to be fitted at the bottom of the seats on the front side, which used to be inaccessible for mechanics and made maintenance difficult,” explained an official.