The government permits “all Tamil Nadu State Transport Undertakings and private bus operators to operate buses with AC facility, including buses operated and engaged by industries to transport their employees, and schools and colleges engaging buses to transport their students with air conditioners, at the earliest,” said an order issued by Chief Secretary Rajeev Ranjan under Disaster Management Act, 2005.
The AC bus service was suspended from March 25 last year following the lockdown imposed to prevent the pandemic outbreak. While normal bus service resumed from September, AC bus service remained suspended even though transport corporations and private operators urged the government to permit their operation citing flight and AC railway coach services.
Even Tamil Nadu State Transport Undertakings had complained of fall in revenue due to the non-operation of their 702 buses with AC facilities.
The standard operating procedure for public transport operation of AC buses said the temperature setting of all air conditioners should be in the range of 24-30 degree Celsius, relative humidity should be in the range of 40-70 per cent, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.
“Seats to be occupied by the passengers and seats to be left vacant shall be marked to maintain physical distance inside the bus,” it said.
It also insisted on the usual COVID-19 precautions of mandatory wearing of the mask by the bus crew and passengers. The buses should be disinfected before and after each trip and all buses should be fixed with sanitiser dispensers near the rear and front doors, the SOP added.