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