Narrow doors and rattling windows in public transport buses will no longer make your travel cumbersome.
Keeping passenger comfort and security in mind, the transport ministry has made it mandatory for all buses to have sliding windows, closed doors, legible display indicators, low-floors, fire extinguishers and safety belts for the drivers.
The ministry has issued a new urban bus policy that aims to make buses sleek with advanced passenger information system and electronic fare collection.
“Buses continue to suffer from poor brand image, are non user-friendly, ergonomically poorly designed, unfit for the physically challenged, fuel inefficient and low on passenger comfort,” said M. Ramachandran, secretary (urban development).
The old, red buses will be slowly phased out and replaced by new ones with all advanced features in the months to come.
“We welcome the changes which will benefit passenger comfort and safety. But including all the advanced features will increase the cost of the buses,” said Harsh Kotak secretary, Vahatuk Mahasangh, the Mumbai Bus and Truck, Tempo union.
“We are tying to abide by the new guidelines but many of the norms, such as low floor and using Compressed Natural Gas, are not suited for Mumbai, especially during monsoon. We have expressed our views to the government,” said Dilip Patel, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) chairman.
The medium-sized buses, that the BEST has bought, and the new limited fleet of air-conditioned Kinglong buses abide by most of the guidelines.
The policy has also made it mandatory for school buses to have guardrails on windows for the safety of children.
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) officials said all buses that ply between Sion, Panvel, Borivli and Thane also follow the specifications.