The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) has clarified that, in addition to buses, vans, cabs and three-wheelers will be allowed to ferry schoolchildren, but the vehicles will have to adhere to the Surakshit School Vahan Policy norms.
The RTA’s clarification is expected to end the confusion prevailing among parents over the legal modes of transport that can be used to ferry school children.
The RTA has also extended the deadline for vehicles to conform to the policy from April 1 to July 1, and also made it compulsory for the vehicles to be painted yellow.
Earlier, the RTA had issued guidelines about the policy that led to confusion about status of vans, cabs, and three-wheelers. The lack of clarity led to confusion among parents looking for alternative transportation options for their children. The taxi owners were also contemplating to challenge the directive at the district court.
“I work in a BPO in Gurgaon and my husband works at a multinational bank. Our work hours are erratic and since the school is at a short-distance from our residence, my mother-in-law helps our six-year-old board the van that takes her to school (Millennium School). Since learning that vans could not ferry children from April 1, we were contemplating buying a second-hand vehicle and employing a driver to drop and pick up our child. The confusion had caused great stress to us and the RTA’s reversing their decision is of great relief,” Sangeeta Lal of Sector 47 said.
The norms listed under the Surakshit School Vahan policy makes it compulsory for drivers to be in uniform while on duty, display relevant numbers on the exterior of the vehicle, install speed-governor device, reflective strips and CCTV cameras with over two weeks of storage capacity , and ensure the presence of women conductors in school buses.
Bus drivers will have to get a fitness certificate from the civil surgeon, have more than five years driving experience and ensure that they are not penalised for traffic violations more than three times.
“Vehicle owners will have to approach the RTA for procuring clearance certificate, insurance and pollution certificates. Besides, schools need to reserve a parking facility on the school premises where students can be dropped or picked,” Trilok Chand, secretary of the RTA, said.