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Old 25th June 2013, 20:53   #31
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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I think it is well known that safety regs in the west are generally more stringent than India....be it the rule itself or how strictly it's enforced.
I have compared the UK regulations regarding the emergency exits and they are on par with what India has. The UK regulations have two points which could be incorporated in Indian regulations.

1. Specific mention of tethered emergency glass breaking hammers, and that any vinyl advertisement or design etc is not allowed on the emergency windows. This is in my view a big omission.

2. An audible warning in the drivers cabin regarding any emergency or service exits being open.

Other than that the code itself seems to be pretty strict in India.

Also, I think at least the bigger bus body manufacturers in India like Volvo, Tata, Tata Marco Polo, ALL, Sutlej, Azad, ACGL, Irizar, Prakash, Veera, KMS etc must be largely must be meeting these regulations. Surely the OEMs like Volvo, Tata and Leyland must be following the regulations to a T.

Of course once the bus is out of their facilities, they dont really have any control over the buses anymore.
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Old 26th June 2013, 08:55   #32
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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Also, I think at least the bigger bus body manufacturers in India like Volvo, Tata, Tata Marco Polo, ALL, Sutlej, Azad, ACGL, Irizar, Prakash, Veera, KMS etc must be largely must be meeting these regulations. Surely the OEMs like Volvo, Tata and Leyland must be following the regulations to a T.
I really doubt if this code has been implemented in India - it talks a few things about requirements regarding window design in non-ac buses, and I really don't see the requirements being implemented anywhere. Also, with the implementation of the code, its mandatory for the body builder to be accredited, and the body design needs to be standardised. Neither of them happens now.
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Old 26th June 2013, 09:16   #33
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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I really doubt if this code has been implemented in India - it talks a few things about requirements regarding window design in non-ac buses, and I really don't see the requirements being implemented anywhere. Also, with the implementation of the code, its mandatory for the body builder to be accredited, and the body design needs to be standardised. Neither of them happens now.
All big manufacturers have standardised body design now a days. Most new buses that I see on the road are largely the same. And thanks to the fact that there no big bus body builders in my state, I get to see buses made in all corners of the country plying here. If you check out the websites of body builders too they list specific models of buses. How do you not call that standardisation. Of course standardisation does not mean every component needs to be the same. The OEM bodies are heavily standardised.

Again I am not saying each and every bus that is registered today adhere strictly to each and every clause of the bus code. But I think the bigger builders who dominate the market today follow the code to a large extent.

Also accreditation was made mandatory only a couple of years ago. And how do you know that accreditation does not happen? Also all body builders today are probably not accredited, since the builders had been give a year or two's time to get their facilities and employees upto scratch so as to meet accreditation standards. But even so I am sure the OEM's are already accredited.

Last edited by julupani : 26th June 2013 at 09:19.
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Old 26th June 2013, 09:23   #34
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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All big manufacturers have standardised body design now a days. Most new buses that I see on the road are largely the same. If you check out the websites of body builders they list specific models of buses. How do you not call that standardisation. Of course not every component needs to be the same. The OEM bodies are heavily standardised.
OEM bodies were standardised even before the code came, and that is why many operators don't bother going for OEMs. It is not something newly enforced after the codes came.

Volvo, for example, lets the customer choose whether or not to have a driver door - which is a very important rescue route in case of accidents.

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Also accreditation was made mandatory only a couple of years ago. And how do you know that accreditation does not happen?
BY the sheer number of small workshops fledgling on the road side, and the number of buses that do not comply to any part of the code (except that it is a "bus"). Had accreditation been implemented strictly by now, we should be having only standardised body designs, adhering to all the specifications in the code, including that of windows and gangway width.

From my contacts in the industry, the code is not yet fully implemented - the state governments themselves have objections, because once the code is implemented, each state would have to register any vehicle that complies to the code (now every state gives registration on its whims and fancies - some states do not permit sleeper buses, some have its own layout design and so on).
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Old 26th June 2013, 10:38   #35
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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Volvo, for example, lets the customer choose whether or not to have a driver door - which is a very important rescue route in case of accidents.
Who says not having a driver door is not compliant with the code? There is nothing in the Indian bus code, or for for that matter in European codes either, that mandates that a separate exit for the driver is necessary.

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BY the sheer number of small workshops fledgling on the road side, and the number of buses that do not comply to any part of the code (except that it is a "bus"). Had accreditation been implemented strictly by now, we should be having only standardised body designs, adhering to all the specifications in the code, including that of windows and gangway width.

From my contacts in the industry, the code is not yet fully implemented - the state governments themselves have objections, because once the code is implemented, each state would have to register any vehicle that complies to the code (now every state gives registration on its whims and fancies - some states do not permit sleeper buses, some have its own layout design and so on).
The code has definitely been notified. All the states, state transport undertakings and manufacutrers including some independent body builders were involved in the development of standards. It took quite a few years for the two major codes gover buses, ie AIS31 and AIS52 to be developed. More than the AIS52 design code, it is the AIS31 code dealing with strength of the structure that is more difficult for the body builders to meet. Then AIS-63 for for school buses has also been notified. Unfortunately as of now I dont think the AIS119 sleeper coach standards have been notified, though they have been published. Thus as of now it is left to the states to decide on that matter. But you can expect this to be notified soon enough.

As for extent of implementation, obviously that takes time. I had read that there were close to 400 bus body builders in various states. Of course it takes time for all these big and small players to be able to meet the standards, especially since it requires investment of money as well. But even now RTOs in any state cannot refuse registration of a bus that meets all criteria and is of an approved design accredited by the ARAI or CIRT.

Also, let us remember even if fully implemented the corruption in the system allows people to get away with stuff.

Last edited by julupani : 26th June 2013 at 10:39.
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Old 26th June 2013, 12:14   #36
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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aroonanand

How was the response of the operator SRS after the accident??? Did the other bus crew and the local operator staff help the passengers after all of you came out of the bus or were you left to your own devices???


I know of at least one case reported in T-BHP , where forget other operators, crew of the buses of the same operator (not SRS) involved in the accident did not bother to stop and help passengers involved , despite some of the passengers being badly injured. How was the response of the emergency services in this case?? Since the driver appears to have been quite badly injured, did highway patrol/ambulances come quickly on the scene???
The response of SRS was bad, to say the least. Immediately after the accident, not many SRS buses stopped by. A couple stopped to see what happened but did not offer much assistance. A Royal travels sleeper stopped by and the driver / crew helped in calling for the ambulance etc. Again, sad state of affairs in our great nation - the accident happened ~5-6 kms from Dindigul city centre and it took a good 30 mins for the ambulance to come !!

The local SRS agent came to the scene soon after the incident but did not offer any real assistance to the passengers. Thankfully no one was injured. After the ambulance left the scene, the crew was informed by SRS Bangalore to send passengers in other SRS buses upto Madurai, from where a special emergency assistance bus would take us to TVM.

Not many SRS buses were keen to take passengers on board. A few were taken on a Nagercoil bound sleeper. 5-6 of us boarded a Thirunelveli bound sleeper whilst the others were still waiting. Upon reaching Madurai, we were shocked to see the office locked and no one to assist. The driver of the Thirunelveli sleeper which I boarded told us that "They will not arrange any special bus. All of this is for them to merely console the passengers at the site. In any case, the office does not open till 630 AM (We reached Madurai ~5 AM) and hence waiting would be futile." He offered to drop us at Thirunelveli where we can speak to their local office.

Upon reaching Thirunelveli, the local agent was clueless and said there's nothing much he can do and that we should take the matter up with the SRS Head Office in Bangalore. As the passengers were sent in multiple buses, it was only 5-6 of us that were arguing with this agent. After protesting and expressing displeasure, he was instructed by SRS Bangalore to drop us at the New Bus Stand from where we could take a govt bus to TVM (~6-8 kms from their office we were informed) and refund INR 150 per head, being the fare from Thirunelveli to TVM. So, at the end, we were left to fend for ourselves to find our way to TVM.
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Old 27th June 2013, 07:34   #37
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

I think the final decision rests with us, the passenger. We have a right to choose which bus we want to take, we have to start exercising that right. Most of the times, we compromise, we compromise with safety to reach our destination earlier or with lesser cost on the pocket, the Bus Operators are only making an 'offer' with their products, we are ones 'accepting' the offer. If we have our own rules and follow them to a T and speak to the 10 other passengers whom we can influence, then we would be slowly starting a revolution and things would be better.

But, it first has to start with 'me'
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Old 27th June 2013, 07:54   #38
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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I think the final decision rests with us, the passenger. We have a right to choose which bus we want to take, we have to start exercising that right. Most of the times, we compromise, we compromise with safety to reach our destination earlier or with lesser cost on the pocket, the Bus Operators are only making an 'offer' with their products, we are ones 'accepting' the offer. If we have our own rules and follow them to a T and speak to the 10 other passengers whom we can influence, then we would be slowly starting a revolution and things would be better.

But, it first has to start with 'me'
Very well said. But unfortunately in a country with lots of people and not much money, saving a buck seems more important than saving a life sometimes.

But with people getting ready to pay more and more money for bus services, their expectation from such services including safe travel is also rising though in a very slow and steady manner. Definitely buses that run on our roads today are safer than what they were even 10-15 years ago. Govt mandated bus standards which are being slowly implemented are also a step in the right direction. Quality of bus travel on all fronts is improving slowly and steadily. The safety aspect though is probably improving a little less slowly, especially compared to the comfort and speed aspect.
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Old 27th June 2013, 18:19   #39
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

The ability to handle a crisis is the test of character of any company. The very obvious crisis situation for bus operators are accidents. They should have a plan to handle these kind of situations.

At the very least, the Omni Bus Operators Association should come up with 'Emergency Cells' in major cities, they should arrange vehicles, assistance on such cases. They can collect a fee from respective operator afterwards.
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Old 27th June 2013, 19:29   #40
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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Originally Posted by julupani View Post
Who says not having a driver door is not compliant with the code? There is nothing in the Indian bus code, or for for that matter in European codes either, that mandates that a separate exit for the driver is necessary.



The code has definitely been notified. All the states, state transport undertakings and manufacutrers including some independent body builders were involved in the development of standards. It took quite a few years for the two major codes gover buses, ie AIS31 and AIS52 to be developed. More than the AIS52 design code, it is the AIS31 code dealing with strength of the structure that is more difficult for the body builders to meet. Then AIS-63 for for school buses has also been notified. Unfortunately as of now I dont think the AIS119 sleeper coach standards have been notified, though they have been published. Thus as of now it is left to the states to decide on that matter. But you can expect this to be notified soon enough.

As for extent of implementation, obviously that takes time. I had read that there were close to 400 bus body builders in various states. Of course it takes time for all these big and small players to be able to meet the standards, especially since it requires investment of money as well. But even now RTOs in any state cannot refuse registration of a bus that meets all criteria and is of an approved design accredited by the ARAI or CIRT.

Also, let us remember even if fully implemented the corruption in the system allows people to get away with stuff.
It was mandated way back in 2004 that all that all OEM's and bus body builders to get their Bus bodies design (Core Design with slight exemption of non structural parts which won't affect the safety) accredited by CIRT Or ARAI within a given time frame, which kept on changing indefinitely. Most of the Local bus body builders like SMK, Azad, Techno, MarcoPolo got their bodies certified at CIRT, Pune. There were a large number of small players, especially in Karur Belt, who cannot afford to build CAD models with FEA evaluation, if carried out individually. They formed an association where all the Bus Body builders in that region contributed and got couple of designs accredited.
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Old 27th June 2013, 19:35   #41
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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I think the final decision rests with us, the passenger. We have a right to choose which bus we want to take, we have to start exercising that right. Most of the times, we compromise, we compromise with safety to reach our destination earlier or with lesser cost on the pocket, the Bus Operators are only making an 'offer' with their products, we are ones 'accepting' the offer. If we have our own rules and follow them to a T and speak to the 10 other passengers whom we can influence, then we would be slowly starting a revolution and things would be better.

But, it first has to start with 'me'
Yes, what you have mentioned is correct, the choice resides with the customer, but this applies only when you have a choice. You decide to buy a car with airbags / ABS if you are concerned about safety; you choose to go with a base variant when you do not want to spend the extra lakh on these features. Car OEMs make vehicles available with all the options but the customer has the choice.

Not the same case when it comes to travel. When almost every operator compromises on safety (as is evident from different posts - where most operators dont seem to have even the basic driver door in place), the traveller does not have any other option. This includes the state owned buses which dont have the emergency exit !

Yes, one can make the others aware but this is not going to change the attitude of the operators, as they know everyone is in the same boat. Nothing will change unless the regulators act hard and clamp down on the guilty.

Everyone knows that the state of the Indian railway infrastructure is in such bad shape, from a safety angle as well, but then the millions that use a train do not have the option of choosing a "safer train" that runs on refurbished tracks and bridges which are newly built rather than commuting on the 100 year old bridges built by the British. It is not that passengers are unaware of the issues or are happy to "accept" the offer of Indian Railways. Not everyone can afford to drive down on their own vehicles or fly, so the only option left is to travel by buses / trains, when it is evident that safety is compromised.
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Old 27th June 2013, 21:34   #42
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

And one more important issue which people are overlooking in India is the unscientific and sometimes inhuman working hours some of these drivers have to put in, occasionally from their own choice but most often through poor work practice of many operators. Instances of drivers forced to drive from Kochi right up to Hyderabad or back to back 12-15 hour trips for days together all are very scary and outright dangerous to passengers who travel in these buses. In many cases in addition to the stress of driving many of these drivers have to settle accounts as well with every en-route agent. The regulations on driver duty hours to the best of my knowledge are non existent. Sadly in these era of increasingly "stage managed" internet reviews some of these bad practices of the so called "reputed" operators are getting brushed under the carpet.

Last edited by TKMCE : 27th June 2013 at 21:35.
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Old 28th June 2013, 08:04   #43
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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It was mandated way back in 2004 that all that all OEM's and bus body builders to get their Bus bodies design (Core Design with slight exemption of non structural parts which won't affect the safety) accredited by CIRT Or ARAI within a given time frame, which kept on changing indefinitely. Most of the Local bus body builders like SMK, Azad, Techno, MarcoPolo got their bodies certified at CIRT, Pune. There were a large number of small players, especially in Karur Belt, who cannot afford to build CAD models with FEA evaluation, if carried out individually. They formed an association where all the Bus Body builders in that region contributed and got couple of designs accredited.
You are right. What you are talking about is the implementation of AIS-031 which related to the major structural components of buses. This was notified in 2004. AIS-052 which relates to design elements of the bus like doors windows, doors, seats, emergency exits, etc was notified in 2008 only, while the same for school buses and now for sleeper coaches too.

But like you said it took a lot of time for everybody to build up capabilities to meet the code, due to various investments required. Most did not even have the technical know-how to implement the code. Even now not all have been able to meet it, though technically design accreditation has now been made mandatory. Initially even ARAI and CIRT did not have the facilities required to verify whether the designs met the code. But like you said slowly but surely, progress is being made.

Our body builders are still a long way from having the R&D capabilities of top European bus builders like Irizar, Van Hool, Optare, Neoplan, IrisBus, VDL, Tata Hispano etc.
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Old 29th June 2013, 17:12   #44
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

Many busses, especially the air-conditioned ones intend to use the air hatches at the top as emergency exits! I remember the earlier Sutlej built bodies and now the iT09 came with roof hatches in the cabin area, these performed 2 functions, one they let fresh air into the cabin and then also worked as emergency hatches when disaster struck
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Old 2nd July 2013, 10:35   #45
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Default Re: Buses in India: Lack of Emergency Exits, a recipe for disaster?

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So much so for passenger safety which is compromised because the operators want to load the extra 2 seats which would otherwise have to be removed to fit the emergency exit !
Always the case in India isn't it?- cinema halls gave two hoots for safety until the fire in Delhi. I guess the same thing would apply here as well- until there is some ghastly accident, and the media doesn't turn out in numbers to make it a circus, no one is going to take this seriously.

Given this incident, I'm now uncertain about ever letting my family get anywhere near a Volvo bus.
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