CHIANG RAI – Thailand’s Network of Road Safety and transport academics have called on the Ministry of Transport to phase out the use of double-deck buses.
The buses that are considered unstable on twisty roads, or when braking under stress. There has been a series of high profile accidents involving the buses in recent months.
According to the network, drivers of double-deck buses have no experience especially on routes through hills in North Thailand. They are also accused of driving buses at speeds that compromise stability in the event they need to brake suddenly.
The call by the Network of Road Safety and academics came just days before millions of Songkran holiday makers boarded buses to travel up-country.
The Network of Road Safety said road mishaps during the past five months showed that fatalities were the highest on double-deck buses. It reported that 97 bus passengers had died since late last year.
The Land Transport Department usually recruits privately owned double-deck buses to supplement its fleet. But there also many of the double deck buses in the fleets of companies that operate under a Land Transport Department franchise.
Some private companies such as Siam First Tour are gradually replacing the double deckers with single deck buses on routes to the North. Of the three nightly departures from Chiang Rai, the company uses a single deck bus on its 1730 departure, while two later departures use double deck buses. A company official said the single deck bus is the company’s newest arrival with 32 VIP seats.
Ultimately, the government will ban double deck buses, but will need to give operators time to replace their fleets. The buses taken out of commission will be sold to other private firms that offer charters to groups and tour companies.
A standard double-deck bus weighs about 18 tonnes and is 4.5 metres high. It can carry up to 50 passengers, while a single-deck bus weighs 15 tonnes and is about 3.8 to 4 metres high, carrying up to 40 passengers.
Mr Chadchart plans to limit the height of all passenger buses to 4 metres in the future.
At present, there are about 6,200 double-deck buses registered nationwide. Of them, about 1,700 are scheduled buses, while the rest are charter vehicles.
The minister also identified seven highways which he said are unsafe for double-deck buses to operate on.
They are: Tak-Mae Sot; Phitsanulok-Phetchabun; Kabin Buri-Pak Thong Chai; Ang Thong-Sing Buri-Chai Nat section of the Asian Highway; Rangsit-Saraburi; Krabi-Phangnga; and Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son. – See Original Story Here