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Old 22nd December 2015, 12:05   #1
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Default Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

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Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday said that with the objective of reducing the number of road accidents, the Centre is mulling various proposals and was going to make air-conditioning mandatory in the drivers cabin of buses and trucks.

Speaking after inauguration of 76th conference of Indian Road Congress here, he said, "Every year around 1.5 lakh people die and three lakh people get injured in road accidents in the country. Around 5 lakh accidents take place every year and we want to curtail this number by at least 50 per cent."
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/c.../1/551539.html
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Old 22nd December 2015, 12:29   #2
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Before this, Mr. Gadakari should think of stringent enforcement on the way licenses are issued. The drivers first should know what is right and what is wrong when driving. Mostly, they don't care about any road law, no red lights at the rear is a such common sight! Its scary. We are far from the time when everybody can afford the extra cost of such AC buses and trucks. Ultimately, this cost will have to be borne by the end consumers!
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Old 22nd December 2015, 12:49   #3
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Instead of this, they should ban all wooden body and locally made trucks and buses. For trucks the entire cabin should be from the manufacturer. Also locally built bus bodies should be stopped and only those from manufacturers or manufacturer approve builders should be allowed. Besides being safer they will also look better. Currently most truck and bus body designs in India look like they are from the 1950's or 1960's and with safety standards of the same era.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 13:11   #4
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Appreciate the thought, but ensuring working tail lamps would be a good starting point in preventing accidents. Not sure about the rest of the country, but down south its a nightmare post sunset, both on the highways and the city

Last edited by fash_1 : 22nd December 2015 at 13:14.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 14:32   #5
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Ac is not a luxury or an comfort item, long distance driving means an exposure to extreme elements, so this move is very good.
@Figopian usually travel about 50,000 km a year, and in my observation long distance truckers usually stick to rules as much as possible far more than local truckers, and drivers of smaller vehicles. tail lights are the most replaced spare parts , but they do break and the replacemant may not be as quick as should be. Again local truckers transporting sand bricks etc flout the norm.
@pedrolourenco Wooden and local bodies have been banned for about 18 months. Existing ones will be on roads for the next seven or so years before vehicle replacement is due. Local bus bodies were also banned, but there is a stay on this ban. Even when local bodies are totally stopped, some registered larger workshops will continue with body building as per central govt norms. Non co operation of some states in rule formation is delaying this.

Lot of work like E collection of toll using RFID, audit of all accident spots with change of road geometry etc is already in progress, if this drive continues a few more years will change our roads for the better permanently.

Rahul

Last edited by Rahul Rao : 22nd December 2015 at 14:42.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 14:47   #6
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Personally, I don't see the point as far as truckers are concerned. These guys do inhumanly long hours behind the wheel on a regular basis. This is the way the trucking scene works. Always overloaded payload, always weary and overworked drivers, always back to back long distance hauling. In these situations all an AC cabin would do is to get the drivers overworked mind and body in a rested and comfort state hence ultimately making him drowsy behind the wheel. That makes him more dangerous than ever on the road!

Also non-existence of properly ventilating AC systems in India will also subject the drivers to breathing stale air for longer periods of time than car drivers who have better systems and take more frequent stops to freshen up.

All in all I think it's a bad idea. They should have major trucker industry reforms before going all hanky panky and illogical.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 15:34   #7
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

The additional cost of buying an AC equipped vehicle would not be too much; and almost negligible if you take into account the cost of some of the newer gen trucks.

Having said this, fuel expenses remain the single most expenditure for these heavy trucks with alarmingly low fuel efficiency. The fuel efficiency will go further south if the AC is used.

How many owners would agree to their drivers using Air conditioned cabins and adding to their bills? I would expect either strict instructions to leave the AC off or some jugaad to ensure the AC cannot be used.

I fully endorse the need for comfortable driving conditions and the thought of AC cabins has crossed my mind multiple times.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 18:31   #8
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

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Originally Posted by Rahul Rao View Post
usually travel about 50,000 km a year, and in my observation long distance truckers usually stick to rules as much as possible far more than local truckers, and drivers of smaller vehicles. tail lights are the most replaced spare parts , but they do break and the replacemant may not be as quick as should be. Again local truckers transporting sand bricks etc flout the norm.

Rahul
Sure!
But I dont see any differentiation on having AC only for long distant truckers, it will be applicable to all. I agree long distant truckers are better maintained, but then they cannot be differentiated by law I guess. Its a big decision for a country like ours, ensuring better engineered road is a far better approach I believe. The target of having all trucks with AC driver cabin in the next 10-15 years is a more realistic goal.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 18:56   #9
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Originally Posted by revintup View Post
fuel expenses remain the single most expenditure for these heavy trucks with alarmingly low fuel efficiency. The fuel efficiency will go further south if the AC is used.

On the contrary, the ac will have next to no effect whatsoever on the truck engines as their higher power and torque figures are at a level where the ac compressor will put negligible strain on the engine. It's another story with cars given the smaller engine size. The cabin space in most trucks is smaller or almost the same as a cars. So an ac of just about any cars rating will have to be used, power wise. And comparatively the truck engine is much larger.

But yes, the cost will be high as the bare boned truck cabins will have to add a lot of kit in the way of proper insulation etc for the ac to work properly. An ac proper retrofit for a truck could add at least a lac in today's cost scenario.
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Old 22nd December 2015, 19:14   #10
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Default re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

This will be applicable only to new trucks, trucks on highways have a change over of under 5 years, then they are resold for local usage, trailers with heavier designs and lesser km per day have longer usable life, but even then they have a similar changeover.
So even though company built cabins are now compulsary, we see only about 40% of highway trucks with having them. Another 3-4 years and all longdistance trucks will be with OEM cabs. On similar lines, compulsary AC's will be introduced in an year and 90% long distance trucks will have them within next 5-6 years.
Larger the vehicle lesser the difference in fuel effeciency, so a 2 axle 16 ton truck may have a minor difference which is noticable, but heavier trucks may have such a minor difference that we cannot even notice it.

Rahul
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Old 23rd December 2015, 19:06   #11
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Default Re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Though good to see this, how long would these AC cabins work, given the harsh environment and next to nil maintenance.

If they do not maintain the engines and the various lamps, I am not sure how this is going to be in the long run.
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Old 23rd December 2015, 21:07   #12
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Default Re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

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Originally Posted by revintup View Post
The additional cost of buying an AC equipped vehicle would not be too much; and almost negligible if you take into account the cost of some of the newer gen trucks.

Having said this, fuel expenses remain the single most expenditure for these heavy trucks with alarmingly low fuel efficiency. The fuel efficiency will go further south if the AC is used.

How many owners would agree to their drivers using Air conditioned cabins and adding to their bills? I would expect either strict instructions to leave the AC off or some jugaad to ensure the AC cannot be used.

I fully endorse the need for comfortable driving conditions and the thought of AC cabins has crossed my mind multiple times.

I would like to reply to your concern about the millage going further low.

"I used to work for Microsoft support. One of the many common issues that we used to get was slow starting of the computer and overall performance. My best example used to be If you have too much load when you start your car like AC being on you will get less pickup and also if you keep it on the millage will be less. I meant to say that lesser applications starting on startup will make the computer go fast and lesser applications in the background will make the computer perform better.

This example worked for me, till i met someone who was into Automobiles. He asked me a counter question. The man asked me "Are you from India?" my reply was "YES, I am Sir." He said "Indians drive 800 cc to 1300cc cars, where all this matters. An average american drives a 3000cc where non of this matter". I was Shocked and never used the example again ."


Sir i hope you get the drift.
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Old 24th December 2015, 05:03   #13
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Default Re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

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Originally Posted by Figopian View Post
Before this, Mr. Gadakari should think of stringent enforcement on the way licenses are issued. The drivers first should know what is right and what is wrong when driving. Mostly, they don't care about any road law, no red lights at the rear is a such common sight! Its scary. We are far from the time when everybody can afford the extra cost of such AC buses and trucks. Ultimately, this cost will have to be borne by the end consumers!
I think driving in summers in North India (March-August) can be really harrowing due to extreme heat and humidity. Proving basic humane facilities to the drivers is a good step. This can go a long way in reducing their stress and "may" reduce accidents which are so prevalent on Indian roads.
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Old 24th December 2015, 05:54   #14
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Default Re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

I am not sure how it is going to work given the kind of trucks we have in India. Heck they arent even trucks, they are just chassis and medieval in this day and age if you ask me. More than the A/C I would like improvements to driver ergonomics like decent seating and controls but then again it is next to impossible with the kind of trucks we use mostly in India.
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Old 24th December 2015, 10:07   #15
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Default Re: Center to make air-conditioned driver cabins in buses & trucks mandatory

Before making AC mandatory, ask manufacturers to add better suspension on the front. I have travelled in the truck 3/4 times and I feel that the front suspension is non existent in Indian trucks. Its a nightmare. Auto rickshaw has better suspension than trucks.

Last edited by GTO : 24th December 2015 at 11:34. Reason: Language
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