Now travelling in King Long and air-conditioned public buses will not just be a comfortable, but also safer — thanks to bulletproof windows.
On Monday, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking approved a Rs 2.5 crore plan to fix bulletproof windows on 32 air-conditioned and 70 King Long buses.
Even the 200 King Long buses, that are expected to arrive in the city by 2010, will sport bulletproof windows. One bulletproof glass will cost around Rs 10,000.
The undertaking has already appointed a private firm that will start fixing bulletproof, sun protection ultraviolet films on existing AC buses window glasses. These films will have a breakage resistance of around 95 per cent. A regular glass has breakage resistance of 65 per cent.
“Glass fragments that usually injure passengers in case of a accident, stone throwing or any untoward incident would be restricted to the minimum,” said BEST Committee Chairman Dilip Patel.
“The glasses are thick enough to resist such calamities. But a glass cutter will be kept in handy inside the buses to cut through the bulletproof windows, in case of fire.”
However, the cost will not be transferred to passengers by hiking ticket fares.
The BEST will earn from this deal after it gives advertisement rights for Rs 1,700 per bus per month to the contractor. Meanwhile, the undertaking doesn’t seem to be taking seriously the state transport department’s appeal to have emergency doors at the rear of all public and hired buses.
“There is already a door on the sides of King Long and AC buses as per the bus body code. Doors on the rear of buses are not compulsory,” said BEST General Manager Uttam Khobragade.