School buses in Pune unlikely to start operations from December 1

The drivers are also not clear on what Covid-19 vaccination norms will be, even if school buses start operations
For the last 20 months, bus drivers have been left with no options but to keep buses standing in one place. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
For the last 20 months, bus drivers have been left with no options but to keep buses standing in one place. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
Published on Nov 25, 2021 09:02 PM IST
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ByJigar Hindocha

PUNE Even as schools are set to reopen for offline classes for Class 1 to 7 from December 1, the Pune bus owners’ association is uncertain about starting service from the first week as standard operating procedure (SOP) has not been announced by the government for drivers and helpers.

“We have not got any SOP from the government and until schools do not start with full attendance, we cannot bring buses on roads. Once the school decides how it will be running its operation, only then the bus association can decide on starting operation,” said Kiran Desai, secretary of Pune bus owners’ association.

For the last 20 months, bus drivers have been left with no options but to keep buses standing in one place.

“We were told by Anil Parab, transport minister of Maharashtra, that we will be excluded from paying road tax. It was declared, but no Government Resolution (GR) was passed,” added Desai.

The drivers are also not clear on what Covid-19 vaccination norms will be, even if school buses start plying.

“We need clarity on the vaccination SOP for school bus drivers,” added Desai.

Anil Patil, a school bus driver, said, “I will continue to sell vegetables and have given my bus on rent. I am not sure if I will return to school bus duty.”

Another school bus driver Riya Shaik, said, “I had started working as a food delivery boy – and will continue that unless school starts with full capacity.”

Box:

School buses and van in Pune/Pimpri-Chinchwad: 8,000

Drivers and helpers: 16,000

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Sunday, December 05, 2021