Serious concerns have been raised over the safety of the new electric buses after several commuters found themselves trapped inside one of the government coaches when it plunged into a deep trench while travelling along North Shore Road on Wednesday.
The husband of a female passenger on the vehicle, that fell into the ditch near the site of the former Clay House Inn, expressed anger at the fact that there appeared no ability to exit other than the main entrance door, which had become wedged shut.
He noted how grief stricken passengers went into a panicked state upon finding that they could not get out of the bus, with the side windows restricted ability to open allowing only the thinnest and most nimble a slim chance of squeezing out.
“The door wouldn’t open because it was jammed shut and the people were panicking and kicking the door, but were still unable to get out,” said the man. “One guy on the bus was cursing and asking why there wasn’t an emergency exit on the damn bus and it was just pure pandemonium.
And my wife brought it to my attention that, if there was a fire on board, people would have died. Similarly, if it would have went overboard, people would have died.
“There’s no emergency exit that allows people to get off these vehicles quickly, they’re actually trapped.”
It was further asserted how rescuers had to dismantle the door in order to free passengers from the vehicle, which was eventually removed from the trench.
It was not clear why the bus had ventured into the path of the roadworks being performed on the southern lane, with traffic controls facilitating single lane access on the opposite side.
“There should be another escape route other than the main door,” added the man. “To me, these new buses are like a death trap. Like being on a plane without emergency exits.”
The man told of how his wife remained “shook up”, while a friend of hers was experiencing pain in one of her legs.
It was reported that at least one passenger was hurt and required medical treatment.
“People were hurt and knowing that they could not get off the bus quickly made for a real stressful situation that added even more to the physical injuries,” concluded the man.
TNN awaits an update from the investigation report into the cause of this mishap.
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