Surat’s city buses are ticking bombs, another bus charred in the fire

Traveling in city buses run by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) might be dangerous


Surat (Gujarat): Traveling in city buses run by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) might be dangerous. Almost a half-dozen Blueline city buses have been gutted in fires on busy roadways in various parts of Surat in the last year. So yet, no one has died as a result of the fires.

In the latest incident, a city bus (Gj05Bx3225) going from Godadra to Chowk Bazaar junction caught fire at about 8.24 am on Monday. The bus was passing the busy road in Godadra to reach Chowk Bazaar when the incident occurred. Fortunately, there were no passengers on the city bus when the incident occurred.

The driver of the city bus, Nand Kishore Godke and conductor Dinesh Deshmukh immediately vacated the bus when they saw the fire in the bus. The duo abandoned the bus in the middle of the road and informed the fire brigade about the incident.

On November 26, 2022, the city bus parked at the Kosad Gam bus stop suddenly caught fire. The entire bus was gutted in the major fire reported due to a technical fault in the electric circuit.

An estimated 2.50 lakh passengers have been using the mass transportation system of the SMC, which includes city buses and BRTS per day. Surat has a fleet of 575 city buses, 136 BRT buses, and 119 Electric BRT buses operating on various routes across the city.

Experts said the city buses are vulnerable to fire incidents. The reason is that is a lot of internal electric wiring and the slightest fault could lead to sparks, resulting in major fires. All the city buses and BRTs are using CNG as fuel. However, there is an increased chance of the buses getting completely damaged due to the CNG.

Kamlesh Naik, deputy municipal commissioner who is heading the BRTS cell of the SMC told TBT, “A major reason for the fire incidents in city buses is the complex wiring. Even a small spark in the wires could result in big fires”

Asked whether the department is periodically maintaining the city buses, Naik said, “All the city buses including the BRTs undergo fitness certificate. The Regional Transport Office (RTO) gives the fitness certificate and then only the buses are operated on the routes for the safety of the passengers”