CHENNAI: It was impractical and impossible to procure 100 per cent low-floor buses in the city due to technical and infrastructural constraints, the State Transport Department informed the Madras High Court on Friday.
The government highlighted its position before the first bench of acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy, which was hearing a petition filed by Vaishnavi Jayakumar, a city-based disability rights activist.
The petitioner filed a plea for a direction to the department to procure low-floor buses to cater to persons with disability (PwD), and challenged a tender notification issued to procure 1,771 buses, including 1,107 for the Metropolitan Transport Corporation, as they were not low-floor vehicles.
When the matter was taken up last time, the government had informed the court that it had decided to procure 447 low-floor buses. The judges then directed the government advocate to file a report explaining why the department could not ensure that all the new vehicles are low-floor.
Responding to this direction on Friday, the government said there were several difficulties in buying low-floor buses. "Proper infrastructure at bus stops is essential to operate the low-floor buses. During rainy days, water could enter the lowfloored buses. The cost of one lowfloored bus is around Rs 80 lakh but the cost of normal buses is Rs 40-45 lakh. For operating low-floor buses, the cost of operation will be around Rs 41 per km," the department noted. Recording the submissions, the bench asked the government to file a response on whether inclined ramp facility could be created to ensure disabled people could access buses easily.
The matter has been adjourned to January 24.