Every year, P.N. Arun Narayanan, a resident of Annanur visits his relatives in Dindigul during the Pongal holidays, by hopping into a comfortable air-conditioned bus. Next time though, his journey may not be as pleasant.
The city traffic police have given Omni bus operators four months to remove the tinted glass — the kind that helps retain the cooling effect of air-conditioners — from their windows.
Operators have been told to replace the dark glass with the regular kind – in keeping with the Supreme Court’s directive on the removal of all sun film from vehicles’ windows and windshields.
The traffic police started a crackdown in 2012 to enforce these rules starting with cars, and have now moved on to buses.
“We have not put in the tinted glass. Bus manufacturers provide the vehicles with the dark glass in place. It will cost us Rs. 40,000 to change the glass in the windows of just one bus. This is going to be a huge burden on us,” said Mohammed. A. Afzal, president of the Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Operators’ Association.
Mr. Narayanan said that such a move was unnecessary for buses. “We pay hefty ticket prices to be able to travel comfortably. But with the tinted glass removed, the effect of the air-conditioners will reduce. So fares should also be reduced,” he said.
As of now there are 150 operators in the State plying 1,000 buses. In Chennai alone, there are 35 operators plying nearly 700 buses.
“Fuel costs are also shooting up. At this rate, many operators will be forced to shut down their services,” said Mr. Afsal.
He said that operators were not in a position to transfer the burden of their expenses on to passengers.
According to traffic police officers, between January 1 and July 15 alone, a total of 47,900 cases were booked of vehicles violating the sun film rules.