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Monday, January 6, 2014

Chennai MTC bus on route 27D catches fire - luckily none injured

Time alone can tell whether Metro rail, MRTS (and Monorail) will change the way people commute in Chennai….. in roads bustling with traffic, there are millions of two-wheelers (incidentally does anyone remember that Enfield Motors in the mid 80s had Explorer and Silverplus on Indian roads !); autos; cars, trucks, mini-trucks …….still buses rule … they are the most preferred mode for people to move around in the city of Chennai… the city traffic can frighten people -  still people feel that there is certain method in madness as these vehicle drivers let others also to pass by.

The buses have Numbers for easy identification….. in early days every part of the city and the emerging suburbs would get connected to Central and to Parrys….the common Q in those days was identifying the Pallavan bus route Nos…. so – which places does No. 1 connect ?  Govt. operates the transport system which was established way back in 1972. The operational jurisdiction earlier was only the metropolitan area. Now there are buses going to Sriperumpudur, Kanchipuram also. There was a time when bus Corporations were named after Regional rulers, Kings and freedom fighters. The clamour for splitting the Corporation and the caste clashes ensured stoppage. The city operation was earlier popularly known as PTC (Pallavan Transport Corporation). PTC was split into two in 1994 and now it is Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

A couple of decades ago – PTC No. 1 used to run between Triplicane OT and Tondiarpet….. now it runs between Thiruvottiyur and Thiruvanmiyur and does not pass through Triplicane. Route no. 27D connects Villivakkam and Foreshore Estate….it runs through ICF, Ayanavaram, Kellys, Purasawakkam, Egmore RS, Thousand lights, Dr Radhakrishnan Salai, AIR …..

MTC buses involved in accidents are not rare…….. have heard of accidental fire too……… ~ sometimes you see or hear of vehicles catching fire with not identifiable causes. A vehicle fire is an undesired conflagration (uncontrolled burning) involving a motor vehicle. Also termed  auto fire, it is one of the more common causes of fire-related property damage. Automobiles can catch fire for all sorts of reasons. Most of the time, it is because of accidents. If a car gets hit in its gas tank or the engine has taken a severe hit, a slight spark or electrical impulse, such as when batteries get ruptured, can cause a fire.  Buses often bear the brunt of hooliganism and in a couple of years ago in an arson, four buses were burnt at Kanchipuram. That fire at Kanchi bus depot brought to fore the lack of security measures at bus termini across the state.

In Dec 2010 – there was news of bus on deluxe service on route E 18 between High Court and Guduvancherry, going up on flames near the cement road bus stop at GST road. Smoke emanated from the chassis, the driver brought the vehicle to a halt, passengers panicked and jumped out and all of them in commotion saw the bus go up in flames.  Fortunately, all passengers could get out of the vehicle billowing smoke. The authorities of MTC attributed it to electrical short circuit.

On Saturday (4.1.14) there was to be another – over  40 passengers travelling in bus (27 D) had a miraculous escape after the vehicle went up in flames near Purasawalkam. The bus reportedly  was going to Villivakkam from Foreshore Estate when the driver noticed smoke rising from the engine. He stopped the bus near Moksham Theatre and alerted the passengers. All of them managed to get off the bus before it went up in flames. The Hindu reports that 3 fire tenders rushed to the spot and firemen battled for 30 minutes before dousing the flames. An electrical short circuit is suspected to be the reason for the fire. The police are investigating.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Jan 2o14.

PS : bus on fire photos courtesy : The Hindu and Times of India.

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