To ensure security of their students, schools will have to form transport committees immediately to enforce the bus safety policy, the regional transport office (RTO) officials have told principals.
On Thursday, a meeting was organised at the Andheri RTO for school principals from Bandra to Dahisar to understand the policy, which came into effect in 2011.
The focus on bus safety comes after a four-year-old girt was allegedly molested on a school bus last week.
As part of the policy, every school has to form a transport committee to enforce and monitor the policy. Other requirements of the safety policy include fire extinguishers, emergency exits and a compulsory women attendant.
"They have to form the committees immediately," said AN Bhalchandra, regional transport officer, west zone.
It is not clear how many schools already have committees in place, though RTO officials estimated it to be about 50 or 60 in Bandra-Dahisar stretch.
Every committee has to have representatives from the school staff, parents, RTO as well as education department officials.
The RTO has designated specific officers in each region to liaise with schools after receiving complaints of unavailability of officers.
"The committees should be active and meet once in three months," said Suresh Mali, education inspector for west zone.
Various stakeholders also raised suggestions and objections. "Why are the rules different for school buses and for vans transporting children?" asked Anil Garg, president, School Bus Owners' Association.
The Unaided Schools' Forum has also objected to schools having to enter into contracts with bus operators based on the contract drafted by the government. "We are drafting our own contract as a guiding draft," said SC Kedia, honorary secretary of the forum. "The state can't enforce [their contract] on schools. This is unacceptable."