Unsafe ride to school: Illegal buses, cabs continue to ply in Delhi despite crackdown | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Unsafe ride to school: Illegal buses, cabs continue to ply in Delhi despite crackdown

The Delhi government had cracked down on school buses and cabs plying illegally after the murder of an eight-year-old boy, allegedly by a bus conductor in Gurgaon. However, illegal cabs and errant drivers continue to have free run in Delhi.

delhi Updated: Nov 01, 2017 13:26 IST
Sweta Goswami
Thirty-three schoolchildren had a close shave on Tuesday when their bus caught fire near Dhaula Kuan as they were returning home from their school.
Thirty-three schoolchildren had a close shave on Tuesday when their bus caught fire near Dhaula Kuan as they were returning home from their school. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The incident of a private bus catching fire has brought the spotlight back on how children in the Capital travel to and from their schools.

Despite a special drive in September, illegal cabs and buses continue to ply with impunity in Delhi and errant drivers and conductors continue to have a free run.

The Delhi government had cracked down on school buses and cabs plying illegally after the killing of an eight-year-old boy, allegedly by a bus conductor, at Ryan International School in neighbouring Gurgaon and the rape of a seven-year-old in her school in Shahdara.

“We had seized 520 school buses in the city after the Ryan school case. Out of this, 503 buses were the yellow-coloured ones and 17 were contract carriage or private buses,” said an enforcement officer of the transport department.

Read: Schools need an eye beyond CCTV cameras for safety of students

The drive, which was supposed to continue throughout the year, however, was not continued after September.

How safe are our school buses?
Guidelines
‘School bus’ written prominently on back, front of van/private bus
‘On School Duty’ displayed on hired bus or van
First-aid box n Horizontal grilles on windows
Fire extinguishers
School name, telephone number
Reliable locks on doors Driver: Valid licence, 5 years experience (heavy vehicle)
At least one conductor
Space under seat for bags
Escort from school
Annual fitness certificate
Pollution control certificate Max speed: 50 kmph
Precautions for parents
Cab owner, driver should be verified by police. Recommendation from school must before taking service
Regular communication with kids to detect if anything is abnormal
Inform cops if anything is amiss
Keep track of cab driver, timings, routes.
Interaction with school authorities
(Guideline suggested by Delhi Police)

After the seizure of a number of buses in September, representatives from various schools had urged transport minister Kailash Gahlot to stop the drive. Gahlot then had put a 10-day ban on prosecuting school buses and cabs and asked the schools to conform to rules within that period.

But, the drive was never resumed after the 10-day deadline lapsed. This despite the fact that the government’s own estimates suggested that there were more than 25,000 cabs and buses plying illegally and ferrying school children in the city. Only 9,600 cabs and 2,766 buses are actually registered with the transport department.

A transport department official blamed the inaction on staff crunch.

“For over one crore vehicles in the city, we have only 60 inspectors who have to be deputed 24x7. There are other tasks too in which these people need to take care of,” an official said

Policy not drafted

Delhi’s Road Safety Council, in its first meeting after its reconstitution in August, had decided to draft a full-fledged policy on safe transportation of school children.

However, nothing moved on the ground.

“The problem is that there are one set of rules from the CBSE, another from the traffic police and a third set of rules that are mentioned in the Delhi Motor Vehicles Rules. There is a need to factor in all set of rules into one,” said RC Jain, president of Delhi State Public Schools Management Association.