AFTER FOUR electric buses of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Trust (BEST) were fitted with automatic doors recently, the undertaking plans to install automatic doors in each of the new buses procured. The opening and closing of the doors will be controlled by the drivers of the vehicles. Electric buses started operating in the city from last Friday. After a bus arrives at a stop, the driver manually controls the opening and closing of the door. Till now, only air conditioned (AC) buses, which had been scrapped last year, had this facility.
“The doors ensure discipline in movement of commuters inside the buses. It discourages people from standing at the doors. Automatic doors are very important to ensure safety of commuters. It also controls crowding inside the bus,” a senior BEST official said. Officials said closing of door is included in the operational model of electric buses. The vehicles would not run without the doors closed.
While the model, to be integrated in the operations of the newly procured buses from Tata Motors, was considered earlier, it had been disapproved of. “We wanted to integrate the door closing model in the 175 buses purchased from Tata by July this year. We were hesitant to implement the changes. The drivers were also not trained to run buses with automatic doors. We now plan to continue it in the years to come as buses with modern technology are fitted with automatic doors,” a senior BEST official added.
Commuter Neeraj Ghadge said: “Automatic doors are fine if proper ventilation is allowed inside the bus.” BEST is going to ply five hybrid buses, procured from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), by the end of the month. The buses will have manually-controlled automatic doors.
Currently, four electric buses ply in the city. Two more are expected to be in very soon. Senior officials in BEST claim they will ask for better cooling in the two new vehicles, as they face a problem of heating of engines in the present bus models. Transport expert A V Shenoy said: “Buses with automatic doors face an issue with ventilation. Non-AC buses could do away with this feature.”