Bus operators who are willing to pay higher tax and fulfil guidelines of the school bus policy can ferry students, even if they don’t have a tie-up with schools, the transport department has said.
Usually, bus operators have to a pay a low annual per seat tax (Rs 100) if they have an agreement with a school. Now, they can avoid the agreement with schools, but pay tax of Rs. 1,900 a seat a year in addition to following the guidelines.
The managements of several schools have been reluctant to enter into an agreement with school bus operators, as per one of the provisions in the school bus policy. Thus, several school buses and vans presently ferry students illegally, without proper permits.
“At the beginning of this year, we had announced that if school bus operators want tax exemptions, they will have to produce an agreement with schools,” said transport commissioner VN More.
However there was still some confusion among RTO officials and bus operators as RTO offices have not issued permits to bus operators that did not have an agreement with schools but were ready to pay the tax.
However, the bus operators are still doubtful. Claiming that more than 1,500-2,000 school buses in the city still don’t have proper permits, Anil Gerg, president of the School Bus Owner's Association said, “Issuing permits and charging more tax is an attempt to complete revenue targets and not resolve issue.”