Private bus operators suggest steps to panel on Volvo mishap
A little more than a month into the tragic Volvo mishap that claimed 45 lives at Palem in Mahabubnagar, private bus operators and NGOs have recommended measures to the committee constituted by the government to probe the tragedy.
The key recommendations are: a second door in long-distance bus services (including RTC and private buses) and installation of surveillance cameras in driver and passenger cabins.
The two-member committee, comprising Raymond Peter, Principal Secretary (Social Welfare), and L. Premchandra Reddy, Principal Secretary (Finance), met private bus operators, NGO representatives and Transport Department staff at Transport Bhavan on Friday as part of the probe.
Curiously, private bus operators wanted the authorities to ask bus manufacturers to provide an additional door and a safe exit mechanism during emergency situations. Although buses are equipped with fire extinguishers and hammers, in the event of an accident or fire, it is difficult for passengers to escape through the window, which is over eight-feet high, they maintained.
Videos on use of hammers and fire extinguishers and other safety measures in buses should be shown to passengers, said A.P. Private Bus Operators’ Association president H.S.C. Bose.
“The Volvo company had provided video clips in English, and we are getting them translated into Telugu, so that everybody can follow them. We are planning to play these videos in the next 15 days in all private buses,” Mr. Bose added.
Road Safety Education and Defensive Driving Institute (REDDI), a voluntary organisation, headed by M. Laxma Reddy, a former Motor Vehicle Inspector, had suggested that the authorities install surveillance cameras in the driver cabin to enable operators to monitor the driver, besides ensuring that the second driver is taking the wheel after the stipulated driving hours during long journeys.
“The meeting was called to get the bus operators’ feedback on technical aspects like safety provisions, recommendations on bus design and their responsibility during emergency situations. Mr. Premchandra Reddy and I will be visiting the Volvo company station in Bangalore shortly to get more information before filing a report to the government,” said Mr. Raymond Peter.