School buses to get safer
The state regional transport department has started cracking down on school buses in the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai regions that flout rules, taking action against erring drivers, reports Rajendra Aklekar.india Updated: Mar 26, 2009 01:57 IST
The state regional transport department has started cracking down on school buses in the Mumbai and Navi Mumbai regions that flout rules, taking action against erring drivers.
The department is also formulating a policy and a set of guidelines for them. It has penalised autorickshaw drivers in Navi Mumbai for ferrying (more than permissible) schoolchildren.
Since a week, Regional Transport Office (RTO) officials have been checking if school buses in Navi Mumbai met quality and driving standards; 25 buses were found not meeting its standards.
“We received Rs 32,000 in fine from errant bus drivers and Rs 4,384 from auto drivers,” said state transport commissioner Deepak Kapoor. “We have also issued them notices under Section 86 of the Motor Vehicles Act asking why their licences should not be suspended.”
The RTO had carried out similar drives in Mumbai recently and found that a large number of Tata Sumos and Maruti Omni vans ferried schoolchildren.
These vehicles are not meant for school children, but parents hire them as they offer door-to-door services between schools and homes.
The larger buses often cannot enter small lanes and alleys; and SUVs and vans are cheaper.
In January 2008, an Omni carrying schoolchildren caught fire, killing four children. The vehicle reportedly did not have the necessary permit to transport schoolchildren.
“We are formulating a policy and working out a set of guidelines for these vehicles so that there is some sense of discipline and they are safer for school kids,” Kapoor said.
The policy document should be ready within two to three weeks.
“We will be careful not to conduct the drive during the exam period as it may inconvenience students and parents,” he said.