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Minister of Home Affairs, Ronald Gajraj says the regulations governing the seating capacity of minibuses are based on measurements determining a passenger’s legroom which have been in existence since 1962.
According to a Government Information Agency GINA release, Gajraj says, “What we have sought to do is to have the Traffic Department involved in the registration of these minibuses, so that the correct number of seats can be reflected.”
He pointed out that, under the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Act Chapter 51:02 and the Road Traffic Regulations it is stated that there should be a clear space of at least 26 inches in front of every part of the top of the seat back, any handles or grips which do not project more than four inches from the back of the seat being disregarded.
There should also be a clear space of at least 19 inches between any part of any other seat facing it. Moreover, seats over a wheel arch shall not be placed in such a position as to cause discomfort to passengers.
Gajraj stated that according to the release there was no new regulation limiting the buses to 12 seats or any other number.
“The number of seats on the bus is determined by the measurements as set out by the regulation,” the minister said.
He added that on a minibus with 14 seats or less there was no need for a conductor, but minibuses with 15 seats or more must have a conductor as required by law.
The minister noted that some minibus owners contended that they were purchasing 14-seat buses, while dealers claimed that they were 15 seats. Meanwhile, members of the Minibus Association are expected to meet with him to discuss the matter tomorrow.