15,000 school bus staffers staring at loss of jobs
With almost all schools moving to online classes due to the Covid-19 outbreak, nearly 15,000 school bus staffers across the city are staring at losing their jobs. In a statement released late on Friday, the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) said it has no other option but to let go off the bus staff as bus owners are not being paid by schools and parents.
“We are seeing really tough times with schools being shut for so many months. Schools have refused to pay bus owners saying that parents are not paying fees for buses as they are not using the bus service. This has left thousands of bus owners in a lurch as there is nothing we can do to retain our staff if the situation remains like this,” said Anil Garg, president of SBOA.
In Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra, schools have been shut since mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With schools affiliated to the CBSE and ICSE boards beginning their new academic year in April, many schools started their new sessions online and allowed parents to make partial payment of fees as per a government resolution mandating the same.
Garg said the government needs to give some support to the bus owners and staff members to bring them out of this situation. “There are over 2 lakh people in the state who are dependent on these buses for their livelihoods. Many owners have taken loans to buy buses and haven’t been able to pay their loan instalments. The situation can be brought under some control if the government intervenes and gives some relief,” he added.