The Transport Department’s order making doors mandatory for city buses threatens to do more harm than good with the private bus operators unwilling to appoint door-checkers to ensure the safe operation of doors, which open outwards.

The operators of city and town service buses have been asked to fit doors from July 1 in view of a series of accidents in which passengers were thrown out of buses.

The Ernakulam Regional Transport Authority (RTA) had taken a decision to introduce doors for city services two years back but had to keep it in abeyance after bus operators secured a stay from the State Transport Appellate Tribunal. Repeated pleas seeking permission from the State government to go for appeal against it in the High Court fell on deaf ears. While the intent was laudable, Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) sources were disappointed that the recent order didn’t insist on pneumatic doors, which could be operated by the driver.

“The normal doors, which open outwards, would cause a lot trouble as there are chances of them smashing against pedestrians and two-wheelers riders, if not opened with care. Pneumatic door was the ideal solution, which the private bus operators seem to have succeeded in stalling through pressure tactics,” a senior MVD official told.

Costly affair

M.B. Satyan, State president, Private Bus Operators Federation, said the government could have made pneumatic doors mandatory for new buses while exempting existing services from all kinds of additions. MVD sources said that private bus operators could not be forced to appoint door-checkers because even the KSRTC didn’t engage them.

Mr. Satyan claimed that introducing pneumatic doors in existing buses demanded tinkering with the structure, which was a costly affair. “It will be the responsibility of the public to operate the doors with care since we are determined not to appoint door-checkers, adding to our operational costs. City services were exempted from having doors after they were found to cause accidents,” he said.

Transportation expert Dijo Kappen called for a government legislation making pneumatic doors a pre-condition for issuing or renewing licence. “Though the operators would protest against appointing door-checkers, they would soon fall in line in their maddening competition for increasing collections. The cost of introducing pneumatic doors could be recovered from the six months’ salary paid to the door-checkers,” he said.

News : The Hindu