Top deck safe
I REFER to the letter 'Fire Fear' (South China Morning Post, October 15) in which the writer expressed his fears about the escape of upper deck bus passengers if the staircase was unavailable due to fire. Before commenting further, it should be noted that such an incident does not appear to have occurred within the last 10 years.
Through the use of fire-retardant materials and protected electrical wiring, the likelihood of such a fire is already minimised. In addition, a fire extinguisher is available close to the driver, and therefore also close to the staircase, and thus closure of the staircase by fire is not likely.
While the rear emergency exit on the upper deck of a bus may not be a perfect solution, years of experience have shown it to be an effective means of escape, in an emergency. While passengers escaping in this way may not be entirely risk-free, this is still acceptable in achieving the overall objective of evacuating the vehicle quickly, on the very rare occasions it may be needed.
The incidence of fire on buses is watched closely by the authorities. If actual circumstances indicate the need for regulatory changes they would be introduced at the earliest opportunity. Such a need does not exist at present.
J. BLAY for Commissioner for Transport