School bus design in India is governed and mandated by regulations like “Requirements of School buses – AIS 063″, over and above regular bus body code like AIS 052. Apart from this there are certain other requirements stated by states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra which further ensures the safety of the school buses. But we still found that there were several requirements that could have been a part of regulations to improvise the safety features of School buses. We found these were more of very important and critical requirements, which are available else where in other parts of world but unfortunately not available to Indian kids. This made us to make an article on the same and the link is shared here.
In response to the article, BharatBenz which is a new entrant to Indian School bus market have given their responses, explaining how BharatBenz buses are superior and have more safety features. BharatBenz is doing wonders in Indian Commercial vehicle market and its products have proved to be better in Indian operating conditions and with Indian Customers.
Unlike other segments, in School bus segment, right from Eicher to SML and Ashok Leyland to Tata, all major manufacturers have a considerable market share both regional wise and across India. Also school bus segment is a very price sensitive segment where even a difference of 50,000 will sway away the sales. With all this as a boundary conditions BharatBenz is establishing itself in this tough segment as a premium player. BharatBenz 917 range of 9T school buses have been getting appreciations from many customers we spoke and is clearly giving a tough competition to established players. Also the response from the Company shows how serious they are in ensuring the safety in school buses.
Here are the edited excerpts from BharatBenz questionnaire.
1.What are the additional safety features that are provided in current school bus range, which aren’t mandated by AIS 063 – School bus regulations?
BharatBenz exceeds the requirements of AIS school bus safety regulations with the following additional safety features:
o Seat belts on all seats.
o Soft cushioned seat backs for safeguarding from hurt in case of panic braking.
o Aluminique alloy body has lighter weight, which enables higher tilt angle of 42 degrees for better stability.
o Emergency steps for easy exit in case of emergency situation.
o Silicon embedded anti skid vinyl flooring.
o Provisions for GPS, CCTV mounting so as to track the vehicle and also monitor in saloon conditions while the vehicle is on the go.
o Fire-retardant material used in the interiors of the bus.
2. What is BharatBenz view in providing wide angle proximity mirror to eliminate/reduce driver blind spot in front and side?
BharatBenz buses are fitted with two proximity mirrors on the Outer Rear View Mirro’s (each on left and right ORVM) that eliminate the blind spot of the driver. It provides full visibility in the front of the dashboard and also on the co-driver end.
3. How does BharatBenz work with Customer’s and Drivers to improve the overall safety of children school bus?
BharatBenz provides driver training to the drivers for the safe operation of the bus. We also do participate in the school events / campaigns to create awareness amongst the school authorities and parents for the need of the safety.
4. How is BharatBenz Proactively working on new safety features, taking feedback from field reports, accidents, and Customer feedback?
Analysis of feedback from the field, along with constant interaction with our customers, has been a key pillar of our product development from day one onwards. This provides us with a very clear understanding of product performance as well as customer needs and preferences – what do they expect, which features they would welcome in addition, and what exactly they would be willing to spend on in addition.
5. What are all the optional features like reverse view camera, GPS, CCTV Camera provided in BB school buses? How are Customers advised on the purchase of these safety features?
Our optional features in the bus include a sports kit carrier , reverse parking camera, smoke detectors, fire alarm, fog lamps, GPS connectivity and CCTV camera .
6. What is the current market share for BharatBenz in school buses overall and what is the outlook for next 3 years?
As a matter of principle, we don’t disclose market share or discuss our sales planning. At the same time, our products are performing successfully in the field, customer feedback is very good, and we are very pleased with incoming orders. We follow a growth trajectory that is positive and will continue to strengthen our position in the Indian bus segment in a sustainable manner. Overall, we continue to be excited about the Indian bus market’s growth potentials, and we’re convinced we have the right products to resonate with customers.