School bus owners may have threatened to increase the bus fees this year, but the hikes will have to be approved by the school’s bus administration committee.
Earlier this week, the School Bus Owners Association said they would raise bus fees as requirements in the new school bus safety guidelines had increased their expenses. As part of the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles (Regulations for School Buses) 2011, every school has to have its own bus administration committee comprising parents, principal, transport and education department officials.
“The committee will decide the fees. It is not regulated by the transport department,” said Dilip Jadhav, state transport commissioner. Jadhav was speaking on the sidelines of a one-day workshop to discuss the new rules for school bus safety with operators, school principals and parents.
However, the school bus committees can only be set up once the school education department issues the implementation document detailing how the policy has to be enforced. The transport department had issued the rules in a notification on March 22, but the education department is yet to get in touch with schools.
“The rules have become effective but the department has to take care of many things including providing information to parents and giving out the logistics of implementation,” said Indrani Malkani, member of the government committee that formulated the bus safety rules. The logistics include the contract between the school and bus operator and how the committee has to be formed.
“Only after the education department sends its note will the schools be able to form their own school bus administration committees that will decide on things such as bus routes and fee structures,” said Malkani.
Schools have, in the mean time, begun to implement the policy but are unsure of the details. “The rules are in place, but the million dollar question is how does the school implement it?” said M Radhakrishnan, who handles the bus portfolio at Jamnabai Narsee School in Juhu. “What is the process and the time frame?”